Bucket List Gratitude It's Not Harder Than Cancer Thriving Tribe

This? This is Not Harder Than Cancer …

My friend Jeannette frequently quotes Joel 2:25: “I will repay you for the years that the locusts have eaten.”

There have been so many blessing and so many good things happening over the last few months that it feels a lot like the repayment is underway. Here’s the short list: gave my first motivational speech, had the best vacation ever with the lovely Sarah, got a new full-time job, took on a larger role at my part-time gig, wrote my book, launched a web site, lost 50 pounds, all while being supported by the best friends and family a guy could ever ask for.

So, here’s a piece of news I’ve been sitting on for a little while: I’m running the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon in March. I’ve been in training for the last month and a half.

Why am I doing this? The marathon is March 29, three years and two days from my being diagnosed with stage 3b rectal cancer.

Those who know my story well know that marathons are integral to the telling: I ran the Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans Marathon three weeks before I was diagnosed, and the Knoxville Half Marathon five days after.

Running a marathon a little more than three years to the day after my diagnosis is the biggest bird-flip I can give to cancer. Cancer tried to take me out, I’ve struggled with post-treatment complications like neuropathy and weight gain, and the likelihood of recurrence follows me like a shadow.

In 11 weeks, I intend to cross the finish line with a personal record (it won’t be difficult to achieve as my fastest marathon time is 6:21) and be greeted by the warm embrace of the lovely Sarah and close friends.

Between now and then, I’m training with an amazing group of people and cross training with still more amazing people.

To the finish line and beyond …


Related Posts


  • Reply
    Carol Wilson
    January 12, 2015 at 12:38 am

    Hi Michael A lot of years since I’ve seen you but consider you a good friend. I did not know you had cancer but glad you are doing well . Best of luck on the marathon in March I am rooting for you. Carol

  • Reply
    Trish McDaniel
    January 12, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Love this for you Michael! Go for the gusto!!

  • Reply
    Kim Davis
    January 12, 2015 at 2:56 am

    Go get it Michael; the timing couldn’t be better! You’re such an inspiration not only to cancer survivors, but to anyone not living life to the fullest. I’m so amazed by your positive attitude & your gusto. Most of us can truly say, even on what we believe to be a bad day, “this is not harder than cancer”! Thank you for living an eucharisteo kind of life!

  • Reply
    juli urevick
    January 12, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Go Michael gooooooooo

  • Reply
    Tina Price
    January 12, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Always have, always will believe in you – you are definitely my second favorite Holtz!!! Let’s face it – Sarah trumps every time!! LOL Good luck and keep on kicking C’s butt.

  • Reply
    Anita Bales
    January 12, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    YOU GO Michael!! So proud of and for you.

  • Reply
    Jeanette Reynolds
    March 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I’m beyond proud of you, Michael. You’re not only a cancer “SURVIVOR”, but you stand defiantly against it, cheering others on to do the same!! Thank you for remembering how much I love to quote Joel 2:25, “I will restore unto you the years that the locusts have eaten.” And isn’t that exactly what God has done for you, Michael? Didn’t He keep His word?

    Look at you – you’re a man of hard-won victory! You’re an Overcomer with a knowing smile on your face, Michael. God is in the restoration business. He rejuvenates, He reinvigorates, and He regenerates!! You went from being weak from chemo…. to running long-distance marathons!!! Hey, I just thought of something – you’re God’s “Marathon Man”…. YAY!!! (Happy Dance)

  • Leave a Reply