Today I am very grateful for the support that I have received and continue to receive from family, friends and people in the “interwebs.” For those of you playing along, I will give you a short summary of my athletic history.
9 Months Ago. I have only been running for 9 months. I have never been a runner. I did not run track in high school.
3 Months Ago. I have only been freestyle swimming for 3 months. I’ve always been a recreational swimmer. But never freestyle. I never swam competitively. I never had swim instructions before last week.
Biking, same deal as swimming. As a kid, I was a “bike around the neighborhood” kinda girl, but I hadn’t been on a bike in many, many years.
One of the things that I never expected when I began my journey to fitness was the support and camaraderie of the running and multisport community. When I started running, I was sure that I would be laughed at by local runners who have been consistently running half and full marathons for years at a pace that I can only dream of.
They didn’t laugh when I struggled to walk/run ONE mile. In under 15 minutes.
They encouraged. I heard things like You Can Do It! Way To Go! Keep At It, You Are Doing Great!
You see, I had this picture in my head of these highly competitive, snobbish, self-centered…… I am better, faster, stronger and more in shape than you…..people. And, to be honest, they are better, faster, and stronger runners and athletes. But that is why I like them. They encourage and inspire me to be the best runner that I can be, without looking down on me.
Despite how easy and effortless these athletes make their sport of choice look, I’ve learned that they come from all backgrounds and everyone is battling their own demons. I’ve seen some amazing people overcoming physical and mental barriers that would force alot of people to just plain old give up.
I may never be able to run, bike and swim at a pace that comes near these amazing people, but I will continue to challenge myself. I will continue to learn from their amazing strength and courage. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that running, swimming and biking (or any other sport for that matter) is not all about the physical. It’s so much more than that.
Self confidence. Friendship. Support. Encouragement. Community.
These are the most important things that I have learned from my short time in the athletic community.
This post is longer than I would like, but I have to share another amazing moment during my short running career. During the Rock n Roll Half Marathon that I ran last month in New Orleans, I stopped during a portion of the run through the French Quarter to stretch my excruciatingly painful IT band. A group of tourists on the sidewalk (I don’t think they were marathon spectators as they were walking in and out of the shops) stopped near where I was stretching and said “Don’t stop! You got this! Keep running!”
These people did not even know me.
Not to mention the lady sitting by herself along the marathon course holding a poster thanking the participants because she was a cancer survivor. This brought tears to my eyes during my run and gave me that extra little boost to keep going. I am a cancer survivor, which is not something many people know about me because it was caught early, removed, and I have been cancer free for many years. I don’t think twice about it. However, without continued cancer research, I may not have been around to run in this marathon. I was 32 when diagnosed. My grandmother died from the same cancer at the age of 37.
So why am I posting all of these touchy-feely ramblings today? I feel like I need to give back. If I can give at least one person the hope and encouragement that they, too, can run, bike, swim, or ___________(insert challenge here), then I have done my job.
If I can do it, you can too!