Dear Running,

Dear Running,

It is very painful to write these words to you. Running, we have been friends since I was a child. Back then, I loved running through the neighborhood. Not a care in the world. I did not get my drivers license until I was 18 years old because I thought I could just run everywhere. My friends had cars. Why did I need to drive? After high school, you and took a break. We reunited a few times in college, but nothing serious. Just a casual short run every once in awhile. After college you and I drifted apart. Life got busy and I abandoned you. Then in 2003, while having open-heart surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, God spoke to me through a vision and said it was time to reunite with you. Not only to start running again, but to start running marathons. I was under heavy anesthesia, so was this real? Yes indeed, it was real. Not only did God say to start running again, but to share the Gospel through running. Four months after surgery, I started running again. Oh, how nice to see you again old friend. It was like old times. We were back together. One year after my surgery, I completed my first marathon. Oh what a wonderful feeling and experience. As I ran, God gave me the chance to share his amazing love. You and I continued to complete one marathon after another. In 2007, we received a scare when I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s. My first question to the doctor was “Can I keep on running?” I was overjoyed when the doctor shared I could indeed keep on running. Oh, we had a fun time the next year and a half. In 2008, God blessed me with the opportunity to run a 1,000 miles in one year. We anticipated a wonderful and exciting year of running in 2009. It started off with me completing the Disney Marathon. But something just wasn’t right. Was Parkinson’s starting to come between me and running? We fought hard to stay together. But once again something just wasn’t right. In March of 2009, my body started to betray me. That month, Myasthenia Gravis joined Parkinson’s to wreck my body. They finally broke us up in mid 2009. For the next ten years, I would fight for my life and daydream about you friend. Funny thing about those ten plus years, God kept directing me to buy a new pair of running shoes each year. Was God planning a reunion? It sure didn’t look like it. My health continued to decline. Funeral arrangements were made. Goodbyes were shared. Then on November 3, 2019, a shell of a man walked into a tent revival and was completely healed by our amazing Savior. A month later, God reunited us. In 2020, after not running for over ten years, God blessed me with the opportunity to complete 1,000 miles in ten months. Oh what a feeling. But during 2020, a pandemic rolled in and changed the world. On Super Bowl Sunday 2021, I was introduced to this strange virus called Covid. Little did I know my life was going to be completely changed. Since that Super Bowl Sunday, my body has never been the same. I have tried on many occasions to run again. We had a little success, but there have been many moments of major disappointments.

So it’s with a broken heart, I say one final goodbye to an old friend. We have made some beautiful memories together. But the effects of Covid and some other health issues have made running difficult and not enjoyable. I always dreamed running would be part of my life until Jesus took me home. So on August 4, 2022, I announce my retirement from running. It has been a beautiful crazy journey. Thanks for the memories my friend.

Share Some Hope Today

Today we celebrate one month since our documentary Dead Man Running The Todd Shoemaker Story was released. So I have a favor and challenge for you. Would everyone please take the time today to post the link to your social media pages and share the documentary with at least five people? Let’s share some hope today. Thanks! ~OC

Coming 11/17/21

Hello. As some of you know, a documentary was done on my almost 18 year health battle with multiple life threatening health issues. It will be released this Wednesday 11/17 at 8pm. It is being released on several platforms, but the free option will be shown on our YouTube channel Dead Man Running The Todd Shoemaker Story (@deadmanrunningthemovie). For more information check out our website http://www.deadmanrunningmovie.com Here is the official music video for the documentary. ~OC

Two Memories. Two Healings.

Two Memories. Two Healings. This morning I ran my 800 mile of 2020. My wife and I have experienced many ups and downs along our crazy beautiful journey. One of those ups was Laura Geddes Paez. Laura P. was more like a little sister to Laura and I. Laura P. and her wonderful husband René walked through many ups and downs with us. In turn, we walked through some major storms with them. I remember when Laura P. got sick, we declared that one day when our bodies recovered from the battles we were facing, we would run a marathon together. We were both looking forward to that day. Last November, I received my healing. Earlier this year, my dear friend received her healing. Not in the way we had hoped. No, my dear sister received the ultimate healing. No more pain or suffering. So when I run, I am not running alone. No, my dear friend Laura P. is running with me. ~OC

What Is Your Calling?

If someone were to asked you what was your calling in life, would you be able to answer that question? Would you even know what the person was talking about? Answering the question of what is your calling in life is a pretty big deal. Nothing to take lightly. So what is a Calling? 

According to the dictionary, a Calling is a vocation, profession, or trade; a call or summons; a strong impulse or inclination. A pretty simple definition, but a life changing decision we all make at some point in our lives.

As a Christian, I believe God has called each of us to live a life of serving Him and others. Of course that is going to look different for each of us. Some will be called into full-time ministry. Others will be called to serve in their given profession. I believe God has a specific role for each of us that will use our unique gifts, talents, experiences and connections.

As most of you know, I am a former long-distance runner. I ran cross country in high school, a little running in college, but had not run in years when I felt God calling me to start running again in 2003. Oh, did I mention that God shared that calling with me while I was having open-heart surgery to remove a nasty tumor from my chest? It would have been very easy for me to dismiss this calling as way too much anesthesia. I mean really, who has a vision of running marathons while having life-threatening surgery? But several days after surgery, I still felt that calling on my life. I could not escape it. So five months after major surgery, I went on my first run in years. Answering that call changed my life in so many ways. Let me share just a few.

When I heard God calling me to start running marathons, I also heard him share that I was not going to be running just to run. No, I would be running to share God’s story in my life. How He was walking me through this crazy beautiful journey. Of course back in 2004 when I started running again, I had no clue this health journey would last this long. I am thankful for that. As I started running marathons, I felt God calling me to run for those who could not run themselves. My wife Laura started making shirts with the names of people I was running for. It became a topic of discussion at my races. People asked me questions about the shirts and why I was running. During those discussions, I was able to share not only about the names on the shirts, but I was able to share my faith.

During my running career, I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s. All the sudden, I was the cancer survivor and Parkinson’s patient running marathons. Then God woke me up on New Year’s Day in 2008 and called me to run a 1,000 miles in one year. Crazy I know. But with that calling came request for interviews and speaking engagements. More opportunities to share my faith with a larger audience. That was an amazing season of life.

The call to running saved my life. Really OC? How could running save your life? I am glad you asked. When my body started shutting down in March 2009, the prognosis was not great. Some medical staff were not sure if I would make it through the night. But of course I did. Then I made it through the month. Then I made it through the year. And ten years later I am still here. Almost all of my medical team shared I survived because I was in such great physical shape from running. That running had also made me mentally tough.

I often think back to 2003, when I felt God calling me to run marathons. What if I would have decided to ignore that calling? How different would my life be today? Even though I am no longer able to physically run, I still love running. I love talking about it, reading books on running, talking with other runners and coaching runners. Ten years after having to give up running, I still have the mentality of a runner. I believe my faith and my running mentality have kept me alive and thriving.

So how can you find your calling in life? Here are a few ways I found helpful.

Prayer. Being in prayer helps us discern God’s calling on our lives. If you are confused about the calling on your life, spend more time in prayer. God will make things clear. Never stop praying.

Obedience. Are you willing to follow through with the calling on your life, even when it forces you out of your comfort zone?

Trust. You may not understand the calling on your life at first. Others may tell you it’s crazy. I got some weird looks and responses when I told people God had called me to run marathons. Do not listen to the doubters. Keep your eyes on God and trust Him for guidance and direction.

What is God calling you to today? I pray that God will guide your steps as you seek His calling in your life. ~OC

 

 

Running The Race

Back in April, I wrote about how God shared my healing would not come on this side of Heaven. I must admit I was a little disappointed, but at the same time I was filled with tremendous peace. Then a few weeks after that 1am discussion with God, I visited Heaven for a few minutes during a surgical procedure. During that amazing experience, God allowed me to see my new body. There was no feeding tube or device to help me speak. No, I was completely healed and ready to run. When I glanced down, I noticed I had a new pair of running shoes on. During that experience, God shared He was not finished with me yet. There was still things for me to accomplish here on earth. So, I will continue to put on my running shoes and run the race God has prepared for me. I encourage everyone to keep running the race God has designed for you. ~OC

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