Although I have run in some capacity for the past 21+ years, I have NOT consider myself a serious runner. I did some training for a half marathon in 2010; but until I decided to try to qualify for (and finish) the Pikes Peak Ascent this year, I was not running very consistently and definitely was not doing any long runs.
However, once I found out I was chosen for the PPS Triple Crown Team, I knew I would have to run the GOG 10 miler June 8th and therefore would need to start increasing my long runs again. As a self-declared "middle of the pack" runner, I rarely have friends that run slow enough to join me on my long runs. Therefore, I have to find the motivation to get out there and do them alone.
Finding the Motivation
Today was one of those days. I needed to get at least an 8 mile run (yes, this is a long run for me right now) in the Garden...preferably on the course I will be running in just 2 weeks.
But, honestly, most of the time I prefer hiking over long runs. I enjoyed several beautiful hikes with friends this week and love the fresh air, exercise, and camaraderie.
But, I was dreading my "long run."
One of my hikes this week was on the incline with my friends Anna and Lori.
During my climb up, I met a fellow hiker. He said this was his 75th time to hike the incline but it "never gets easier." He shared how he has really bad knee pain and the incline hike will only get harder once he gets his double knee replacement surgery.
He looked young. Really young. So I asked him how old he was...only 24 years young. He told me he was in Afghanistan with the military (Army, I think) and was involved in a bombing where he sustained injuries to his knees. He said he no longer has any cartilage in his knees and this is why he has to have both of them replaced.
I told him how great it was that he hasn't given up and that he has stayed active even after his injuries. He said, "I have to keep going. I can't stop."
I asked him if he heard of Amy Purdy, the 34 year old paraolympic bronze medalist in snowboarding and recent runner up in Dancing with the Stars. What makes Amy's story so amazing is that she has no feet. None. At the age of 19, she had both of her legs amputated below the knee due to an infection that led to septic shock. She has an amazing story of overcoming tremendous obstacles.
He said he would look her up when he got home. I thanked him for his service and we both finished our hike.
I have since changed careers, but previously worked as a licensed Physical Therapist for 12 years. In the beginning of my career, I worked in pediatrics and some of the most rewarding years of my career were when I volunteered with a non-profit organization in Belize, Central America, helping children with disabilities. In the two years we lived in Belize as missionaries, it was both heart wrenching and inspiring to see these kids overcome so many obstacles.
And So I Found My Inspiration to Run Another Day.
If they can overcome their obstacles, I can push through to the next level of my training.
I'm happy to share that I finished my 8 mile run on the Garden of the Gods 10 mile course today. And I actually did better than I thought I would. Yes, it was tough. But, I have been doing my training and gradually increasing both my hill training and long runs. I was ready for this next step.
Next week, if all goes well, I hope to finish the complete 10 mile course just one week before the race.
My main goal this summer is to build endurance and train my body to run on hills. My focus is not speed or time. This will be my first 10 mile race EVER and so will automatically be my PR. I simply want to do my best and finish injury free.
I am thankful I can continue to run and am surrounded by such beautiful scenery.
(picture from my training run today)
And I am inspired to push through my next physical obstacle when I see what someone like Amy Purdy has accomplished.
What inspires you to run another day? Have you met someone recently that has overcome physical obstacles and encouraged you to do so as well?
p.s. If you haven't seen Amy Purdy's 9.5 minute TED talk and need some inspiration, I encourage you to watch it below: