As I continue to countdown to my big day this Sunday, one of the things that I don't always take enough time for on this blog and in real life is expressing how much I appreciate certain people in my life who help to inspire me to achieve my goals.
Running can at times be a lonely sport. Out there on the road for hours by yourself. It is not a bad time and as I have expressed in previous posts I find it as a time to calm my mind and get me ready for the day. However, there are people who have been so instrumental in my life getting me to this point that without this journey would never be possible. Even though I run alone, it takes many people working and inspiring one another for the training to happen.
My wife has to come first. Amanda is the main and key ingredient in our family. Without her I would not always have time to get out there and run. Yes, I get up plenty early to run while she and the kids are sleeping, but without her I would not be able to do these runs. She has been super tough and patient with me as I have moaned and groaned about this pain or this injury or how sore I am. She has had to sit through many nights and days listening to me talk about my training when all she wanted was to talk and listen about something else. She gets up with Ava at night so I can grab that extra 30 minutes of sleep before getting up to run. She endures a lot for my sake. She understands how important this race is and has dealt with it all.....the highs when I come home feeling great and the days when I am pouty when I am not able to run or worn out. Without her this race would not be possible. One more thing about Amanda is how inspiring she has been the last few months. She has taken up running herself. She started barely able to run very far or long and now can get out there and run for about 45 minutes. She stuck with the running when she hated every single minute of it and now has transformed her mind to actually enjoying it. She has to run in the evening and watching her continue to make improvements is so cool. She motivates me to push myself on my journey knowing that if she can push through her walls, then I can too. She is awesome!
I have to add Jeff Paul in here also. I have talked about him several times on this blog, but his work ethic and mental toughness is unmatched by anybody that I know. This guy has worked so hard on his quest to pushing his body to the limit in the Ironman races. His latest one did not turn out the way he wanted, but I think it shows more about who he is as a person than a first place finish could ever show. He started cramping during the swim and he continued to fight through it all for over 8 hours to finish the 140 mile Ironman in 10 hours finishing in the top 30. I cannot handle a cramp on the couch let alone while trying to swim, bike,and run. He has offered me many tips, suggestions, and little things along the way to help me on my journey. Not only do I consider him a friend, but a role model as he is a great husband, parent, teacher, and mentor to so many. I have his little notes that he sends my way with some GU taped to my computer where I can read them everyday before I run. They have not left the screen and there is reason for that. Words from someone like him are more powerful than any product you can buy on the market. Be sure to check his blog out to read about his journey. He is one of the main people along with his amazing wife, Jen, who not only are active in the community, but help with the Live Uncommon organization. Live Uncommon is a great group of people who are working towards helping others become active and positive in the community. I will be wearing a Live Uncommon shirt on race day to show my support.
There is a long list of people who have helped me by just asking about the journey itself. Many of my colleagues and friends who check in with the training, how I am feeling, race day, etc. are so important. I am lucky to be around so many who stay tuned to what is happening. It is a great reminder that I need to make sure I return the favor. Some are running this weekend in the half marathon. Some are coming to cheer. It is cool how a staff of teachers and lifelong friends can be so supportive of one another. This not only shows among us as teachers, but filters into our classrooms as well. There are others who don't teach in my building, but teach at the high school that are working on a personal goal as well. It is a great reminder that the running/fitness community is a great group of people who are always on hand to help out one another.
The last area or group of people would be all the friends I have on Dailymile.com. This is a site where people who train can post their training progress. You can leave feedback and words of encouragement. I have had many times where a little comment here or there has been enough to lift my spirits. Jane Wheeler and some of her runners have been huge in helping me stay strong on this journey. There is another lady from Cedar Rapids, another runner from Ames, and a few in Colorado who I no nothing more about them than the fact that they run. Despite that, their words of encouragement have helped as we are all in this path of pushing our bodies together.
So, to all I have mentioned, thank you. To those whose name was not stated directly, but you know you are thought of, thank you. To anyone I forgot, sorry and thank you. Without you I would not be GETTING IT DONE! Sunday.