Running Through Adversity

Posted by Filed Under: Inspiration & Motivation

running shortsWe runners are a hardy bunch. We push ourselves to exhaustion. We sometimes break bones and scrape skin seeking out stressful situations to see just how far we can push ourselves. Sometimes we do all this while overcoming some immense obstacles.

If you’re San Luis Obispo, Calif., pulmonologist Tom Vendegna, 43, you run to reverse a cancer that initially left you only a 20 percent chance of long-term survival. The Tribune newspaper in that central California city last week ran a human interest story on the medical doctor, who helped confront the ravaging effects of chemotherapy by running and cycling. This after surgeons extracted three pounds of flesh from his cancerous leg.

As the article noted:

From the beginning, Vendegna decided to fight through major surgery, radiation and chemotherapy with exercise, which he said aided him tremendously in his recovery. Although he was a runner before his diagnosis, Vendegna said the experience changed his outlook on keeping fit.

“As time went on, I really started enjoying exercising and forgot about the whole thing of, ‘I have to exercise,’ he said. “It became more of an exclamation point on being alive, and I really started having fun.”

Vendegna’s inspirational explains how he overcame the odds to become cancer-free. It should help some of us who complain about minor aches and pains gain some perspective, while also providing comfort to those who currently or later encounter similar physical difficulties.

Vendegna, according to the article, plans next year to celebrate five years of restored health by cycling in France with his wife. Sounds like the trip of a lifetime.

About Anne

Anne’s been running for so long that when two paths diverge in the woods, not only she does she know to go for the one with the most foreboding weeds, swarms of bees and steep, rocky climbs, but she convinces everyone else to come along. Then, before people are done cursing and nursing insect bites, bloody knees and poison oak outbreaks, she’ll again run — away. She eschews a lot of the newfangled devices that are supposed to make you a better runner because she believes it’s what you put into your body, not on it, that really matters. (Footwear is the exception.) That includes proper nourishment of the mind, which we all know is what really makes the difference on the road…and the trail…and the track. At some point she started to realize that not everyone has run into an Alaskan grizzly bear, been pegged by police as a robber, lost her shorts in a major marathon, rubbed elbows with Olympians, mistaken movie stars for beach bums and watched a wildfire consume her suburb - yes, while she was on a long run. Whether it’s these unique situations, or the universal ones every recreational runner encounters, after she lives it, she loves nothing better than to write about it at Run DMZ.

One Comment
  1. Tammy on May 18th at 11:09 am

    Wow,great story! Thanks for sharing that. If only we could find a way to give people that “A-Ha!” moment without having to experience something so devastating. The human mind is a stubborn thing. Anyway, thank you.