I know what you are thinking…..another post about running?
Sorry, I just can’t help myself sometimes….leading me to hop on my soapbox and discuss running and my running adventures with all of you. Truth is, I love to be inspired, and I love knowing I inspire others. Even if one person is inspired to run or push themselves a little harder, my work is done. After all, we should all leave the world a little better than we found it, right?
Today was one of my favorite days of the year: the day of the Akron Marathon. I know I do a lot of races every year, but even though I love each and every race for their own special reasons, none tops Akron for me. I love it for lots of reasons. For starters, it was the first big race I ever participated in, and I ran in it with my dad, which means the world to me. It also takes place in the fall, a time that is ideal for running and absolutely beautiful. Akron has supporters lining the majority of the 26.2 mile course, which is awesome as a runner to see (I won’t lie though…some of those blue line parties look pretty awesome). Above all, it is the only race I participate in as part of a team.
Yes, I am an athlete who has always participated on teams, and I do love them. When I first started running, it was difficult at first because I knew either I was going to do it, or I wasn’t.There is no one to blame in running…no excuses to give, no team to fall back on. It’s you and you only. This is also one of the reasons why accomplishing a goal in running means so much: you know that you are responsible for it, and you know no one stood in your way. However, it is always fun to be a part of a team event where you can celebrate together.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the running world or various kinds of races, my friends and I (aka “Running for Donuts”) participate each year in the Team Relay. What does this mean? This means five of us split up the 26.2 mile marathon course in varying legs to complete it. I love my team for so many reasons, but mostly because we are ridiculous and have a blast while still kicking some serious butt. This year our team had a last minute roster change, adding my friend Michael (also known as “Glazed”) to our team. I was excited he was able to fill in and truly hope he had as much fun as we did. The rest of our team was made up of original Donut team members: Jodi (Cream Puff), Jason (Apple Fritter), Mandy (Vegan Sprinkle), and myself (Bear Claw). Not only did we beat our time from last year by over 14 minutes, but we placed 261 out of 1256 teams in the co-ed division. I am so proud to be friends with these four individuals and so proud of the teamwork we displayed today. It also didn’t hurt that I successfully ran my entire leg of the relay sporting a donut hat I made this morning at 4:45am.
I truly do love running, but I would be lying if I denied that sometimes I approach a race with some trepidation. Today was also one of those days. Last month I had a lovely little bout of bronchitis that sidelined me from working out for a little over three weeks. Some may welcome the opportunity for some downtime. I, on the other hand, do not. I was extremely nervous to run today because I wasn’t sure how I would race. Not only did I want to do well for the sake of the team, but I wanted a solid indicator of how I would do in the half marathon I’m throwing down on next weekend in Cleveland.
Sometimes when I hit the trepidation wall I need a little inspiration. Usually this isn’t difficult….every race there is someone that amazes me that brings me clarity and motivates me to just get it done. Today was no different. Earlier in the week I had heard about a local man from Barberton, Zeke Petrie, who would be pushing his disabled friend Andre in a wheelchair the entire 26.2 mile race. (You can read more about Zeke and Andre by clicking this link.) This would be Zeke’s first marathon…and he would be pushing about a hundred pounds of weight the entire time. I was anxious to see if Zeke could do this, and I was fortunate enough to watch the pair cross the finish line thanks to the huge Jumbotron inside of Canal Park. As expected, it made me cry. Stories like this really teach us lessons about selflessness….about inspiring others….and most importantly, about being a good person and paying it forward. This man wanted to push his friend in a wheelchair to make his friend’s dreams of competing come true. It gives me goosebumps just typing about it.
Throughout the week I read numerous articles about Zeke and Andre, and I was excited to see that they were inspired by Rick and Dick Hoyt. My dad is my biggest motivation when it comes to running, but the Hoyts are right up there behind him. I watch my favorite video on the Hoyts before every race. It always amazes me when runners don’t know anything about the story of Rick and Dick Hoyt. Again, I cry every single time I watch it….I don’t know many people who don’t get teary eyed. I’ve shared my favorite video below for those who may not know the story of Rick and Dick. Anyone who has a competitive bone in their body owes it to themselves to watch it……these two individuals inspire millions.
Who do you inspire?