Friday, December 30, 2011

Things that Tie us Together

Many people have inspired me this year. I thought it would be great to end the first year of the blog recognizing just a few of them!

In life and running – some encourage, some convict you, and some people change you.

Jennifer lives in my town and I have seen her go through cancer and fight it, she is now in remission. She did the Avon cancer walk with her sister this fall. They walked 26.2 miles on the first day, camped overnight, and walked another 13.1 miles the next day. They raised thousands together and I knew she had been gearing up for it.

Jennifer and her sister celebrate at the finish line.
What I didn’t know was that I would see her while I was running in Charlotte’s Rocktoberfest half marathon. I was at mile ten or so when I noticed the streets lined with hundreds of beautiful pink clad Avon walkers. I was so excited and encouraged to see so many people fighting back against breast cancer and raising money.
Then I spotted my friend Jennifer! I cheered and yelled and we waved. Suddenly, I was overcome with emotion, realizing that each one of the walkers had a story. I continued running and crying, I was so moved that these women and some men were doing this. It was humbling and awesome. It was much more than just the miles.

Other people just motivate me by what they accomplish and through watching their progression. 
Daniel Lieb is one of the first people that comes to my mind in this context. We met at Thunder Road in 2009. He is a machine, as I write this he is completing Savage 7, a 7-day marathon per day race in Florida. Daniel also completed his first 100 mile race this year in the Umstead 100-Mile Endurance Run. What makes this even better is the fact that he enjoys encouraging others. From that first race I met him to this November when he ran by me at Savannah Rock-n-Roll Marathon he has always had a smile and encouraging word to share.
Another inspiring person is Bryan. We met right after he finished his first marathon at Thunder Road in 2009. Since then he has become a self described addict; he eats, sleeps, and breathes running! Last year he completed 40 miles for his 40th birthday. I was excited to share this landmark in part with him.. Later this year he completed the Hinson Lake 24 hour event. The kind of enthusiasm and energy he brings to running is contagious!

Some of the people made me remember that it’s about having fun while reaching your goals.
I first met her at Charlotte at Quintilles Marathon dressed as a surfer and carrying her mini-surfboard all 26.2 miles. She wears a race themed costume for each marathon and makes it a celebration all 26.2 miles!

I also think of another of my fellow Marathon Maniacs, Endorphin Dude. I ran past “ED” at San Diego marathon. This caped crusader has been in overdrive this year pursuing the titanium level of the maniacs and has entertained thousands every mile.

The inspiring third grader!
I was on the course cheering everyone on as they ran the 5K for the local school. At mile 1.5 there was a big hill and a little guy in coat, hat, and a huge scarf. He was struggling his way up the steep incline. From a distance I could see his lips moving, and realized he was repeating something over and over. I wondered what mantra was keeping this little guy moving.
As he got closer I heard him saying, "I can do this, I can do this…" Later at mile 2.5, he was still repeating his phrase over and over, and then as I watched him run into the finishing area, he started to get louder and louder and finally as he finished he cheered, “I DID IT!"

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