A couple of days ago, he told me he wanted a goal to work towards, so he chose to run the Frostbite Half Marathon in Starkville in February of 2012. And he was excited about it, until the next day, when he said to himself, "No, I think I want to do a full marathon instead. And I don't want to wait until February. I think I'll go ahead and do one in October." So he got online, found the Marine Corps Marathon, and signed up right then and there. This is a great insight into the soul of the man that is Aaron Randall Rice. He puts his mind to something big, and then he just freaking does it. I knew this about him when I told him I would marry him and I thank God quite often that he hasn't changed.
I'm pretty excited about his newfound running obsession because it gives us something to do together. Am I going to run the marathon with him? Heck no. But during these next couple of months as he is working up to the big runs, I might be able to keep up with him and we can share a hobby, which does not happen often because I don't obsess over law and politics and he doesn't love potty humor or slapstick comedy like I do. We are two different people with different hobbies and interests but whatever makes up Aaron and Kelly happens to work.
I'm getting ready to brag on him in a big way, so hold your breath or close up shop now if cheesiness makes you gag. You've been warned.
I'm very proud of him. I'm proud of him all the time because he is always trying his hardest to be the best Aaron Rice he can. This was never clearer to me than in March of 2005. He laid in a hospital bed in ICU with a mangled body, yet I never heard one single complaint from him. Within hours of waking up from a 72 hour medically induced coma, he was smiling, laughing, and cracking jokes with the nursing staff. I can remember visitors (sometimes celebrities) walking in his room expecting to have to entertain a depressed, war torn, sulking Marine, but instead walking out having been truly encouraged and uplifted because Aaron just has that effect on people. I think it was one day after he arrived at Bethesda that he started telling his doctors to hurry and fix him so he could get back to his brothers in Iraq and continue to fight their war with them. I wanted to take a hammer to his face and knock him out for speaking such nonsense, but I knew he was genuine. He was ready to get on his feet (or foot, rather) and pick up where he left off.
I think it was less than a month after he was injured that he hopped on a bike (sans a left leg) and rode about 15 miles through Rock Creek Park in Washington DC. It was maybe a month later that he biked from Baltimore, MD to D.C., a 45 mile ride, also without a prosthetic leg. And in the days between that, he spent hours upon hours everyday in a physical therapy room being tortured by Army therapists who pushed him until he blacked out.
A couple of weeks after he was fitted with his first prosthetic leg, he went rock climbing, biking, and white water rafting in Colorado. A couple of weeks after that, he went snowboarding and was cruising black diamonds on his second day on the slopes. Two months after receiving his first leg, he decided to run the Army Ten Miler and against the recommendation of the entire medical staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, he ran it, ran it well, and crossed the finished line with his arms in the air and the biggest smile I've ever seen in my life. Well, I didn't actually see him cross the finish line because I was about 20 minutes behind him trying not to throw up my innards. But I've seen pictures, and trust me, the smile is big. I could keep going, but surely by now you get my point...he's unbelievable. Don't you agree?
So even though its been six years since he's laced up the ole' running shoes, he's going to train and finish this marathon in typical Aaron Rice fashion. I'll be the one wearing my I'm On Team Arnie shirt on the sideline jumping up and down like a gigantic fool and probably bawling my eyes out when he crosses the finish line, because that just seems like something I would do. So I'd like to raise my glass to my Arnie, who never ceases to amaze me, even after almost 11 years. Cheers, mate. Thanks for being you.
The cheesiness ends here.