Gabe Grunewald was a guest on Episode 62 of the Ali on the Run Show. You can listen to that episode here. In light of the latest news from Gabe’s loving husband, Justin, I went back and listened to that episode yesterday.
Gabe was dealt a tough hand in this life. She bravely and tirelessly battled Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare cancer. She never stopped fighting. And in between surgeries, tests, and setbacks, Gabe ran. She ran professionally. She ran when she could. And she didn’t sugarcoat what was going on. She admitted when things were hard, when she was struggling. She asked for love and prayers when she felt she needed them. And then she came back.
It’s hard to imagine Gabe not coming back.
If you’re a runner, it’s very likely your social feeds are filled with kind, loving words for and about Gabe and Justin. She touched and inspired so many people. Have you ever seen a photo of Gabe not smiling? Me neither.
As I edit my podcast episodes and write my show notes every week, I document all of my favorite quotes from each guest. I type them up and save them, but most go unshared. So today, I pulled up my Word document from Gabe’s episode.
I have two full pages of inspiring things Gabe said to me on February 20, 2018. And I thought today might be a good day to share them.
“I didn’t know how much life I had left, but it definitely changed my entire cancer battle and made it a lot harder. I’m still adjusting to the idea of having stage-4 cancer and living with it and trying to hold out hope that some treatment is going to help me eventually.”
“I just feel hopeful when I’m out on a run, and I’m not sure what the future holds, but I know that if a window opens up where things are going well for me, I just want to be ready for that to happen.”
“The way we make progress as runners is consistent training over long periods of time, and I just don’t have that guaranteed anymore.”
“I have bad days for sure. But it’s about making the most of the time that I have.”
“I just know that whatever happens with my health and with running, if it goes well, I want to be in a position where I’m not giving up on these little goals I have along the way. And if it doesn’t go well, I want to look back and not have any regrets. I want to make the most of my time. It may not be as much as other people. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. But it’s something I have to address every day.”
“I’m not guaranteed anything. I’m just trying to hold onto that hope that it’s gonna work out.”
“It’s about having hope that something’s going to work out. I’ve had a rough couple years and a long, tough journey, but I think giving up would be a harder option and the worst choice. Not giving up is also hard, but it’s the right thing to do. That’s what motivates me.”
“Maybe this is gonna turn out to be a great story, maybe it isn’t. either way, I know it’s the right thing to do, to continue to do my best in the face of this struggle.”
“I feel like I’ve been called to dot his and try to be an inspiration for other people going through hard times. That’s huge motivation for me. Not everyone is going through cancer, but most people have something in their life they struggle with.”
“It’s OK to struggle but it’s not OK to give up.”
“I don’t want people to think I’m always smiling. Because I’m definitely not. I have hard days and I think it’s OK to have those days as long as they don’t multiply and that’s the only type of day I ever have.”
“There’s always a way to extract the good from bad situations.”
“Bravery is not giving up. Trying to find the best in tough situations. That’s who I am, what I’m trying to do through my running. It’s to acknowledge that life is hard and to accept that there will be hard times in your life. You don’t have to hide that, but you do have to keep pushing through.”
“I think we are all brave. Every now and then we’ll have life events that push us to an even deeper level of searching for that. How brave are you? It’s not the absence of fear. It’s just doing the right thing for me.”
At the end of every episode, I ask my guest to “give everyone listening a reason to run today.” Gabe’s response: “Run in gratitude for your life and your health.”
Let’s all live a little more like the indomitable Gabe Grunewald. With that endless positivity, tireless hope, and relentless pursuit of living life to its fullest, every single day — even, especially, on the hard ones.
You are so loved, Gabe. Thank you for making this world a better place.