Sometimes life brings us disappointment and heartbreak. It's how we respond to it that truly defines us. Read this incredible story from our RADrabbitPRO Ryan Miller about how he faced, and overcame, heartbreak. We are so proud to support you Ryan!
A theory began to swell from deep within as I sat on that wooden bench at the dog park. A profound dichotomy was yielding an insightful notion. These dogs completely flipped the script, and all they were doing was playing a game of chase…
A little background on this rabbit: My name is Ryan Miller, born and bred in the small Texas hill country town of Boerne. I was refined into a functioning, young citizen at Texas A&M University where I graduated May 2015 with a degree in Industrial Distribution. Currently, I am employed with the “Best Large Company to Work For” according to the Houston Chronicle for five years running, Anadarko Petroleum, in Houston, Texas. But back to the story…
On a crisp, dew-filled Sunday morning in Houston, three weeks out from the Olympic Marathon Trials, I could see my dreams becoming a reality. The goal: 20 miles with the first 10 steady and the last 10 at goal marathon pace. The result: 20 miles at 5:24 average with the first 10 at 5:35 pace and the last 10 at 5:13 pace (including a 4:57 20th mile). The body was primed, the mind was sharpened, and the confidence was brimming.
Fast forward to one week out from the race. After exploring the Houston Museum of Natural Science, a friend and I popped over to a little hole in the wall for some fish tacos. I wouldn’t quite call them the dankest tacos in the world, but they hit the spot. Later that evening, I began to feel some pain in my stomach bubble up. On a scale of slight indigestion to zombies ripping my intestines out, it was leaning towards indigestion. I chalked it up to the fish, slurped some Pepto Bismol, and hit the sack. Going to work on Monday, stomach pain started to increase a little bit. On a scale of slight indigestion to zombies ripping my intestines out, it had now escalated to one hour after eating an entire Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready pizza. Still just brushed it off as a little food poisoning that my body was working through. I’m hopeful as Tuesday rolls around that there would be some slight improvement, but alas, the exact opposite was occurring. On a scale of slight indigestion to zombies ripping my intestines out, it felt as if somebody was giving an unrelenting Indian burn to my insides. I took off the afternoon to go home and rest. Wednesday rolls around and the scales have been tipped. The feeling of zombies going to town had finally prompted a trip to the emergency room. I was thinking that these medical professionals could surely solve this issue and have me feeling fantastic before my flight to Los Angeles the next morning. Nope. The doctor walked in with a morbid face and announced that I would need to be rushed into surgery ASAP as a result of the acute appendicitis I was suffering from. I couldn’t believe what they had just said. I had been flying on cloud 9 for the last few months, and all of sudden I was free falling with no parachute attached. As I sat there speechlessly, a few tears began to roll down my face. The nurse parked herself on my gurney and assured me that this is a pretty typical procedure and I would not die. This actually caused me to laugh a bit, as these people I was surrounded by hadn’t the slightest inkling of the major milestone I would now be missing out from. No explanation was needed at this point. I laid my head down, was rolled into the emergency operating room, and let the anesthesia take me away from the physical and mental anguish that had been thrust upon me so suddenly.
Three days later, I was resting in the recovery room watching Galen Rupp run away from the field at the Olympic Marathon Trials on a sizzling day in Los Angeles. Many friends and former competitors were running. It was terribly bittersweet to follow them during the most competitive marathon of their respective careers, and what could have been of mine.
So the Olympic Marathon Trials had come and passed. It was now going to be another 4 years before I would have another opportunity to chase my dreams. The couple of weeks that followed, unable to run while still recovering from the surgery, left questions racing through my mind. Was God saying that this opportunity just wasn’t meant for me? Will I ever get back to that peak fitness level as my career and life continue to expand? Will I ever make it back again? But then on a weekend trip to the dog park with my family, it clicked.
So we are back on the bench at the dog park. A medium-sized black lab is chasing a smaller beagle mix in the open field on the far side of the park. But the beagle had one thing going for it that the lab didn’t. It had all four legs. This lab relentlessly continued to chase the little beagle all over the park despite missing its left front leg! And the crazy thing was, it didn’t care one bit. If a dog loses a limb, that dog doesn’t spend one second wondering “Why did I lose my limb?” If a dog loses a limb, it’s immediately out at the dog park learning to run as fast, or even faster than when they had four legs. They don’t care. They’re just as happy. Losing that limb means nothing to them, and they go on to live an incredible life.
That’s the mentality I decided I would have from that point forward. Who cares what has happened in the past, how much you’ve lost, how much you’ve hurt. You look forward, and you make the most of every single day. You never ever waste a heartbeat. Take your experiences and build on them. Even the most negative of experiences have the ability to shape us positively if we view them through the right lens. Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials!
I have so much gratitude for my primary sponsor rabbit for signing on with me just after the surgery. When I was at my lowest, the rabbit team was there to help lift my spirits and get me back in the game! Thank you for all your support and I can’t wait to continue building towards 2020 with my pack of rabbits by my side!
- Ryan Miller, RADrabbitPRO