In his late 70’s my father’s pacemaker had reached the end of its life expectancy and needed to be replaced along with the wire that attached to his heart. The doctor wanted to test to see how well my father’s heart would function at rest without the aid of the pacemaker to determine how well a replacement operation would go. Well, it didn’t as soon as the doctor turned off the pacemaker my father passed out; he would tell you he died.

The doctor gave him the choice of living with the existing pacemaker and when it failed dying or having an operation to replace the pacemaker that only had a 10% chance of successes or in other words, a 90% chance of dying during the operation.

My father decided to have the operation. On the day of the operation he told the doctor that he did not want anesthesia; that he wanted to be awake and be able to feel during the operation. He did not want to die in his sleep.

“If I’m going to die, I want to die awake, aware, and able to feel my life.”

And so it was, holding the attending nurses hand and enduing the pain of being cut and split open, he did not even whimper once during the entire operation, nor did he pass-out from the pain.

This my friends isTenacity

So why did I tell you this story? Well because, although my example is an extreme case, I have witness this tenacity first hand in our running community. Runners are the most tenacious bread of people I have ever met. They push their minds and body to the most extreme limits and when they hit their wall the find a way to overcome, to endure, to complete the task or goal. Their only concern is to get to the end.

The only way a runner, I mean a true runner, will stop is if its physically imposable for them to continue. It’s not for a medal, it’s not for a prize of any sort, its not even to impress anyone. It’s only to prove to themselves they can do it.

So strong is this tenacity, if they should not complete the goal, they work harder and practice longer so that they can try again and again until they have attained the goal. These runners will never quit….  When the runner attains their goal they don’t sit back and revel in their accomplishment, no the runner looks for that next run, a more challenging run than the last to push their limits even further.


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14 Responses to /təˈnasədē/

  1. Brittany says:

    What a powerful and fantastic comparison! So much truth.

    • usabaker says:

      So true though right, if we don’t go to a longer distance then we try to do the same faster. Or we turn to trail running anything to test the new limits

  2. 50in50marathonquest says:

    That is indeed an incredible comparison and story. We do indeed push to beyond our limits and even when we have conquered our challenge, we go back for more, or faster or further even though our mind must know the pain we have already endured the last time. When we finish a marathon for example, the struggle in those last few miles is often intense yet our mind finds a way to overcome. You would think having gone through it once that would be enough, but usually within just a couple days, we are thinking of the next one. Thanks for sharing and provoking this thought process that we all seem to share.

  3. Wow–that’s mental toughness!

    • usabaker says:

      Guess your talking about my Dad? When he told me his plan it didn’t really surprise me too much. My dad had shrapnel that the doctors couldn’t take out from the Korean War and he one told me that if you could handle the pain of having burning metal embedded in yous skin there wasn’t much pain you couldn’t handle. My dad was odd.

  4. my26pointtwo says:

    Amazing. He sounds like one tough man. Inspirational.

    • usabaker says:

      My dad was unique. Hard as nails but you would be hard pressed to find anyone that didn’t love him.

      • my26pointtwo says:

        It is hard not to admire someone like that. My dad was a firefighter all his working life. Royal air force fire service at 16 and then into the community fire service. He passed away nearly 10 years ago now after suffering from cancer and I will always remember going to see him in hospital and pulling back the curtain to find a doctor taking their third shot at getting a needle in the right place between his ribs to drain fluid from his lung. When he heard me he turned put his thumb up, smiled and said take a seat and I will be with you in 5 mins. I smiled back and went and sat around the corner and cried. His strength was amazing to me, I will never forget that day.

      • usabaker says:

        You Dad seems to have the same mental toughness as mine had. lost my dad 4 years ago his mind was strong but time, wars and life took a toll on his body and it just couldn’t do anymore. Dad’s are amazing. My Dad like yours showed positively right up to the end; most of all they never wavered in showing you they cared even more then they cared about themselves.

        I will have to admit that when things get really tough I always hear my Dads voice in my head calming me or pushing me, just exactly what I need at that particular time.

  5. I read an article recently saying to the effect that if you want something done, hire a marathoner or runner. For the qualities you mentioned here. So it’s just not in finishing their run, but it translate to the corporate world and other aspect of life – a runner will not quit until the job is done.

  6. Miss Dinie says:

    Wow! I don’t know if tenacity is the word.. Valiant, is more like it. Giving up wasn’t an option and fear wasnt .. Your father was brave at a time where people would have caved in.

    • usabaker says:

      My dad would say it wasn’t bravery; it was perspective. He just didn’t want to leave the world in a induced sleep for him it would be like reading a novel and never finishing the last two pages.

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