i have finally risen from my post 16 mile nap. i've discovered that i have some really crazy dreams while in this stupor. and i think i wrote this whole post in my dream, but i woke up & thought it was a good one. because i've been thinking lately about what inspires me; what inspires any of us to do this thing we do ... this running thing. something has to keep us going when the sheer love & bliss aren't there on any given day & we've got to somehow get through speedwork, or 16 miles, or more. so, here's what inspires me.
first & foremost, i think, is my friend & former running partner. she was diagnosed with a brain tumor a few weeks ago. it was attacking the part of her brain that affected one of her legs - and thus - her running. she had brain surgery a week after her diagnosis ... and rode her bike to the hospital. if this wasn't inspirational enough in & of itself, a day after surgery, she was doing laps around the nurses station with the goal of the next night being breaking her pr & going for three laps.
i think of her now when i am doing mile repeats, when it starts to hurt & i want to slow down ... but i think if she can walk laps around the nurses station a day after brain surgery, i can make it to that lampost, and then the next one, and then the finish.
i mapped this mornings' 16 mile run to go through downtown so i could see the start of the ironman swim. watching these athletes of all shapes & sizes and all ages; file down to the water, to the end of the pier, and jump into the ohio river; and seeing their cheering friends and family with homemade t-shirts annoucing their pride in their ironman or woman gave me chills & totally made me a little teary.
so in mile 15 on today's run, i was so close to home - but i desperately wanted to stop. i had had a great run, but was just tired. i wanted it to be over. and i stopped. for about 30 seconds. and then, i thought about all the people still swimming in that water & thought about how much further they all still had to go. and after watching the kona ironman on tv a few weeks ago & finding myself sobbing at the end, and thinking that is just the coolest club ever, that i might someday, want to be a part of. so, you don't stop a half mile from your house. you just keep going.
and my blogfriend vickie - who i had the pleasure of actually meeting in real life yesterday & with whom i enjoyed a sandwich, a beer & a couple hours of nothing but running chit chat. i love reading her blog, beacuse i just think - i want to be her when i grow up. i just want to be able to say, i'm a grandmother and i do triathlons, or marathons, or ultras, or whatever the hell i hope to god i am still able to do when i am a grandmother. vickie has overcome a bunch of obstacles & just keeps coming back to this thing she loves. she never gives up & she's just always out there, doing her thing. conquering her fears along the way.
this running blog community that i am part of. i love reading everyone's stories ...(and spend a shameful amount of time doing so) accounts of races & training - from the heartbreaking to the hysterical, the DNF's to the PR's. reading about the obstacles we all face in terms of family or job stresses, injuries, etc ... everyone keeps going. i used to think i had the market cornered on this love for running. i thought no one could possibly love it as much as i do. but if no one else loved it, then what on earth would i read?
and i'd like to think i have a little hand in my own inspiration as well. i've made progress in the last year or so. the things i can accomplish now & the way i feel about myself as a result were never a part of my mind-set years ago. and so knowing how far i've come & entertaining thoughts of how far i'd like to go ... the things i'd still like to accomplish inspire me to keep going on those days when the bliss is absent.
there's more, but they're the most important & so i'll save the really gushy words about how my family & my coach inspire me for after the marathon - cause this is starting to feel a little bit like, "i'd like to thank the academy" and i hear the music playing. time to get off the stage.
your turn. what inspires you, mile after mile?