This week, I’ve started reading Marshall Urich’s book titled “Running on Empty; An ultrarunner’s story of love, loss, and record-setting.” While the ultra-running community is cheering his legendary list of accolades, I am currently doing quite the opposite. I expect that my opinion will change as I get further along in his book — otherwise why would they even list love and loss in the title?
But I am NOT at that point in the book. I am only at the beginning of Chapter 2: Legacy. Up to this point, with each race Urich writes about, the widow and mother in me reads and judges his “accomplishment” as a failure rather than success.
Now I realize that everyone handles death differently, but I simply could not find understanding in how this guy moved forward with his life without looking back. Race after race, adventure after adventure, he did indeed set out to achieve more than was thought to be humanly possible. By the time Chapter 1, titled “As far as I can, As fast as I can,” was almost over I found myself getting angry.
Quietly, I cheered his 2nd wife for leaving him. Think what you want of me; that guy had no business getting married again, let alone having more kids. Not at that point in his life anyway. From his story — he was the one who wrote it, right — he wasn’t exactly playing husband OR father. Working to put money in the bank pays the bills but, in my opinion, it doesn’t even come close to fitting the bill (so to speak) of having a family. He left all of that responsibility to her. If that wasn’t enough, he married AND divorced again.
About the time I was really questioning if there was any hope for this guy, he shared a few honest words contrasting his “racked up list of accomplishments” with his “personal shortcomings” and noting the disconnect with the people in his life who loved him. Twenty years had passed since his wife’s death and, it seemed, that he was finally realizing how grief works. It will chase you down no matter how fast or far you go. You cannot run away from it.
I read on and wonder if and when this man’s story would describe him taking on what I perceive to be his biggest challenge: tackling the pain from the death of his 1st wife. I assume that he does eventually do this. I also suspect that his journey shifts from one of running *away* from the pain to running *with* the pain. I suppose I’ll have to continue reading to find out.
You may wonder why I even share this with book with you, seeing as how I haven’t neither formed a positive opinion of it or read the half of it. From the reviews I’ve read, I do believe this book has an inspiring story which you may want to check out.
The reason I share with you today is that reading this book has raised another, more personal, question for me. One that I hope those of you who have been with me for the past many years will weigh in on — with your most honest opinion.