Monday, December 26, 2011

Just maybe, YOU could be the one to inspire someone else!

I was used to running, walking, even going to the gym and doing all my workouts, by myself!  It was what I did.  It was what I liked.  It was my comfort zone.  Previously a few years back I had given running a short lived and sporatic shot.  When it came time to do the two 5k races I managed to get in before giving up my new found career in running (for a minute anyway), I was a little freaked out and clueless as to what to expect with all those other people so close to me and in MY space!  There were too many people, I hadn't worn my IPod, I  could hear myself gasping for my breaths (very annoying!), and then the race started! HAH!  Fastforward to February 2011, I decided to give this running thing another shot, and be a little more steadfast with my training this time.  And I did start out by myself, but by Spring/Summer was ready to maybe look into giving a running group a shot.

At prompting from a friend, I decided to go back to this really nice yoga class for the first time in ages.  There was a sub for the regular instructor that day and it just so happened that one of her best friends would be attending her class that evening, a first for him I believe.  Turns out he was the President of the local running group I had been looking into joining and we really do have quite a few of them here, what a lucky fluke!  I enjoyed talking with him and picked his brain a little, then decided to come out to one of their group picnics they were having shortly thereafter at my favorite running spot.  I got there late, but in time to see Brian (President) and meet another of the group officers (Rose).  I was so excited and proud of what I had accomplished so far that I let them know 'I was over 200 pounds when I started in February this year!!' Brian was very supportive, Rose said, "I weigh over 200 pounds."  I was stunned!  There was no way this gal could possibly weigh anywhere even close to 200 pounds! And I had been a little nervous that everyone in a running group would run like gazelles and be nothing but sinewy little twigs!  Here was this amazing and strong looking person that was even an OFFICER, and she weighed over 200 pounds?!  Okay, I was more than a little embarrassed at my remark, but I told her there was no way she weighed that!  She had to be solid muscle!  I again picked their brains for a little bit longer befored I left and Rose and I exchanged contact information.  After receiving a very supportive email from her later with quite a bit more information, I was to learn that she began running for her health after being diagnosed with diabetes.  Becoming addicted to the sport was simply a side effect for her.

I was very encouraged and she was extremely supportive, so I joined the group and began training with them for my first half marathon!  I wasn't the fastest, sometimes I was even the last one in, but noone ever made me feel embarrassed or uncomfortable about it.  I've met some amazing people and have had some wonderful times and will continue running with this same group and hope to inspire and encourage others the way Rose has with me.

I am including an article, (with her permission), written by Rose for our group newsletter that will offer a unique perspective to some of you out there.  And hopefully, it will encourage you as well.  I would also add that she has completed many half marathons, 5k's (and miscellaneous short distance runs), as well as a 30k,a marathon, and various triathlons!  And something tells me she is just getting warmed up!  Below is a recent picture of her current medals, and she has already begun shopping for a new rack, as this one will not be large enough to hold them all soon!  Thanks to Rose for being my inspiration and being a people builder!  I hope I'm able to do the same for others as well.

'Always Earned, Never Given'
Observations from the Back of the Pack
by Rose Hamel Scovel on Sunday, June 12, 2011 at 9:32am
When you are a back of the pack runner/walker there are a number of things in races that are just...different...than mid-packers and the front of the pack experience...
Don't get me wrong - I LOVE races, have since my first one. I have done 67 of them since October 2008. I wouldn't have done that many if I didn't find them to be amazing fun, even when they "suck." Some races are so bad you decide not to do them again...or give them a second chance and if they still suck you give up on that one, but you don't give up on racing. There's something about the early morning arrival times, conversation in porta potty lines and starting corrals, and experience along the course that keeps you going. And there's the finish line...and in many cases...the MEDALS!
But if you are like me (a firm back of the packer) here are some of the things that are just different:
  • it generally takes so long to cross the start line (especially in big races) that the split timing clocks are totally irrelevant 
  • you have no chance of setting a PR if it is "gun time" only for the start
  •  there are people who think they walk an 11:00 mile when really they walk a 15:00 mile and you have to pass them early on 
  • you will be passed by at least one woman that looks like she weighs more than twice what you do
  • you will be passed by a guy who had quadruple bypass surgery
  • the guy who had quadruple bypass surgery will tell his running buddy (in your earshot) that if you are breathing like that you need to slow down
  • you will initially be passed by some guy wearing basketball shorts and untied basketball shoes that don't fit's ok - you usually pass him later
  • you will be passed by an 8 year old
  • the ground after the Gatorade stop will be so sticky you feel and hear your shoes peeling up with every step
  • you may end up killing yourself on discarded water cups if you aren't careful
  • the cheerleaders will be "bored" and not cheering or packing up before you pass them
  • you very may well be passed by armed service members or firefighters in full gear (I asked once how much their pack weighed and got an answer of 60 lbs - I figure I am 60 lbs overweight so it just makes us even)
  • you very well may be passed by a costumed runner...this never made me cry until it was Gumby and Pokey
  • you will be told by someone who has never run that you don't need to train for 13.1 miles
  • you will be told by someone who doesn't run that "anyone" can run a 5 hour marathon
  • you will mentor someone through the training and pre-race (and transition for tri) and then they will go on to win their age group (or at least place) in their first race - something you will never achieve
  • The finish line may not have the cheering throngs that greeted the early finishers and may be out of your favorite post-race food
But in the end, you had a great experience, met great people, and got some exercise. You also did something that many people will never get out there and race. ESPECIALLY if you will be at the back of the pack. And join me in the prayer: Dear God, please let there be someone behind me.
Rose with me in the 'back of the pack' at a Tuesday Night Trail run

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