Greg Cheek is a combat veteran who served in the US Air Force and as an officer in the United States Army. He’s a college communications professor, motivation speaker, and author of the book Three Points of Contact -12.5 Ways to Jumpstart Your Life and Weather Any Storm.
Greg trained with us for his first half and full marathon in 2011-2012. At that time he was celebrating one year of being cancer free.
His enthusiasm is contagious . . .
Interview with Gregory Cheek
Cancer Hates Happiness
They say that nothing focuses the mind like a diagnosis of cancer.
In 2010 Greg was told by his doctor that he has stage three cancer of the throat. Before he even left the hospital he made a deal with himself that after he became cancer free he would train to run a marathon.
He also began composing thank-you cards to the hospital staff. Greg’s trademark might be his habit of giving thank-you cards to people and his relentless optimism in the face of adversity.
I told myself that I was going to reverse the karma at the cancer center, and my goal every day was to come to treatment and serve, satisfy, and put the needs and concerns of everyone else before my needs. . . I will thank everyone for all they do. Cancer hates happiness.
Greg now travels the world speaking to military, sports, and business groups about the power of thankfulness and paying it forward.
The Three Points of Contact
From the bathroom floor (quoted from the book’s prologue page xv):
My throat was completely closed and sealed after the third week of treatment. The discomfort intensified and the Fentanyl patch was losing its edge to hold back the raging pain in my body. I had no energy and was rapidly losing weight. The phlegm in my throat backed up more and more, and I was vomiting bile and blood from my empty stomach a couple times each hour. . . I slept on the bathroom floor for three straight days and had just enough energy to vomit in a paper towel, lift my arm up, and push it over the top into the toilet.
So writes Greg about the lowest moment of his life, after eight weeks of chemo therapy and radiation, when he almost lost the will to live. It’s in moments like these that he says we must maintain three points of contact:
Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude. -Lou Holtz
In addition to the amazing care he received from the University of Kansas Cancer Center, Greg found it helpful to practice yoga, meditation, and visualization. In particular, he visualized what life would look like once he was cancer free.
His first half marathon was in Munich, Germany, in 2011. He finished in 2:05:45.
Angie designed a training plan for his first half and full marathon and he followed her instructions with military-like percision. He also found Jeff Galloway’s run/walk/run method to help preserve his legs for the later miles and reduce post-run soreness. He’s since completed 8 full marathons.
Marathon training has provided a way for Greg to take control of his health and live life on his terms. It also gives him a greater platform for inspiring others. He’s currently training for the 2015 Munich Marathon and 2015 New York City Marathon.
To connect with Greg visit www.gregcheekspeaks.com. Use the code MTA25 to get a 25% discount on The Three Points of Contact book.
To train with the Academy click here.
I’d like to offer a big thanks to Greg for coming on the MTA podcast and motivating all of us to live with enthusiasm. Thanks also for including Angie and I in the book (page 179). We are truly proud of what he has accomplished in his health and fitness! 🙂
Loved doing my easy 8 listening to this podcast! Hope I get to run with this guy when he gets back to KC next year!
I’m sure he would love that Dan. We talked about doing a MTA sponsored race and bringing Greg in as one of our guest speakers. Wouldn’t that be fun? Now I just need to find a good location for said race!
Maybe KCM in 2016 Trev? How cool would that be? 🙂
I loved this episode, and spent my 10 mile run thinking about all the people I wanted to thank!
Thanks for telling us Bethany! Cheers!
Good interview! I listened twice while I was training.
Greg is brillant, has a lovely voice and is an anthenthic inspiration for all of us.
Listen to him, makes you look forward to run as much as posible.
Well done guys, good job.
Glad you liked it Ricardo. Thanks for stopping by the blog!