Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Add This to My Bucket List

For those of you who have seen the movie (and everyone really needs to - its that good), you know what I mean by a bucket list. It's a list of things I want to do before I "kick the bucket". I was inspired to think about this after seeing Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson in the movie "The Bucket List" and from watching a career/life balance DVD Mark brought home from work a few months ago.

Compiling a bucket list has been a great exercise for me. One of the things I liked so much about running was the setting and attaining of goals - time, distance, pace. It may sounds strange, but when you are a stay at home mom your goals are often so long term it is hard to find ways to mark any milestones. It also isn't as easy as you may think to make a bucket list. At first I figured I could list ten or fifteen things I wanted to do, but the catch is these need to be things I am willing to highly invest in and prepare for. Do I want to have my hair done in cornrows someday? Yes. (I'm not kidding.) But that isn't something I need to work for months for. It takes a lot of thought and introspection to make an authentic list of things I want to do while on this earth. Mark and I have committed to making our own separate bucket lists, and the goal is to knock off two things a year.

The other day Mark brought me his Runner's World magazine and told me to read an article he had just finished. I confess, I don't read Runner's World much anymore - it feels like too much salt in the wound - but he assured me I needed to read this.

Those of you who know me well know that I have a huge fascination with World War II, and in particular the events on the south Pacific. It all started with a chance meeting at a book signing with a gentleman named (say it with me girls) Colonel Glenn Frazier. Col. Frazier is a World War II veteran who has written a great book called, "Hell's Guest" that chronicles his time as a young man in the military and eventually as a Japanese POW. One of the most amazing parts of his survival story is the Bataan Death March. Col. Frazier and some 60,000 other soldiers (US and Philippine) marched 65 miles without stopping for food or water to prison camps. The things he saw and survived are unbelievable, not just on that march but during his time in Japan as a POW. My world view was changed by reading that book. So was my heart.

On March 29, 2009 in New Mexico the 20th Annual Bataan Memorial Death March will be run. It isn't quite like any other marathon. First, it is a race through desert terrain and all the dangers that implies. Secondly, it is mostly (but not entirely) run by military personnel in their military issue boots. And, if you are willing, you can choose to complete this marathon carrying an extra 35 pounds in a backpack. Sound impossible? Imagine how Col. Frazier felt all those years ago in the Philippines, and I imagine one foot keeps going in front of the other.

I may not ever be able to run the Bataan Memorial Death March. I am praying I will one day, but regardless, I am going. Even if it means I run the short course. Even if it means I serve at a water station. Even if it means I see a rattlesnake. I feel so deeply grateful to Col. Frazier, not just for what he did all those years ago in service to this country, but also for writing his story and allowing his experiences to change me.

So add that to my bucket list. Go to the Bataan Memorial Death March. I wouldn't miss that for the world.


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