The Week I Got 20,000 Steps a Day While Sick

The barista asked how my morning was going. I told her I was really congested. She smiled and recommended a cup of tea.

Why am I telling complete strangers I have a cold? Because I am wearing the mantle of courage and strength, that’s why. I am not letting a little cold get me down! And, the only way she knows that is if I tell her. Oh, and I’m also getting 20,000 steps WITH A COLD! That’s what I really wanted her to know. Translation…I’m tough!!

Except, I’m really not.

Tough simply does. Tough does not let everybody in on just how big a challenge one is facing. But, sometimes the world finds out and we marvel all the more.

Take Michael Jordon. Game Five of the 1997 NBA Finals. He had a stomach bug that day. The series was tied at 2-2 and the winner of the game that night would have a huge advantage. An hour before tip-off Michael stumbled out of bed and left for the arena. He not only played..he scored 38 points and led his team to victory. One game later the Bulls won the championship. That’s tough.

Or, how about Kirk Gibson in Game One of the 1988 World Series? He had been the Dodger’s best player all season. But, he was not in the lineup that night because he had two injured knees. In fact, he was in the locker room the entire game getting physical therapy. But, the score was close so Kirk put on his uniform and told the manager he could pinch hit. Bottom of the ninth with two obviously painful knees Kirk Gibson hit one of the most memorable walk off home runs in baseball history. It was his only at-bat in that World Series. He was tough.

And, then there’s Kerri Strug. It was the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Kerri was a US gymnastics vaulter. The team gold medal was on the line. Her first attempt did not go well. She landed awkwardly. But, she didn’t say anything. Instead she limped back to the starting line for her second attempt. What happened next was awe inspiring. She ran, jumped, hurdled the vault and landed on her BROKEN ankle. That’s really tough. The US won the gold medal because Kerri fought through incredible pain.  

I just wrapped up Week 25 of this 20k One Year Step Challenge. And, yes I reached my daily goal of 20,000 steps with a cold. It wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had, but I felt it. And, yes, I really did tell the barista I was congested. That’s such a “Dave Thing”.

Thankfully, the world is filled with other people like Michael, Kerri, and Kirk. I know several right now who are facing the most incredible challenges you can imagine. Yet, they get up every day and move forward with relentless strength. They display courage and tenacity. They inspire others to do better.

I live with someone like that. My wife, Ava, battled breast cancer last fall. She needed surgery followed by radiation. She’s doing well and the long term prognosis is excellent. But, it took more out of her than we anticipated. It wasn’t until a few weeks post-radiation that the spark of her personality returned. Funny thing, I didn’t even know it was gone. I was too close. But, when it came back it was incredible.

Ava is a long distance runner. She ran two half marathons between surgery and radiation. And, she kept training for an upcoming race while getting zapped every day for a month.

And, through it all, whenever she got coffee her answer to the barista was simply, “I’m fine, how are you?”

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