Pay It Forward – 2016

I have been blessed with the ability to run. I have written about this in previous posts.  I am under no illusion that others may not share in the luxury that I have to be able to run. So grateful is an understatement.  I am often asked what motivates me to run as much as I do.  In reflecting on this question (lots of training miles have given me the time to do so) I have come to find that the answer is simple – I’m motivated to run for those that cannot.  In particular I run for my Uncle Guy and have for years.  He is a Vietnam Vet who sustained injuries that have impacted his mobility. When I am tired and want to quit I think about him.  He warms my heart and keeps me moving.  This year I started writing his name on the bottom of my shoes, it helps to focus and reminds me that I do have the power to keep going no matter what…quitting is not an option, Uncle Guy won’t give up so neither will I.

For those of you who know me I am not an extremely emotional person, translation I don’t cry often.  But if you and I meet at the end of a race you will probably see tears in my eyes. I am overcome at the end of races by the magnitude of what I have done and how truly amazing it is that I can.  My heartbreaks for my Uncle who struggles to move around each and everyday.  It is something that I always take a moment to acknowledge at the end of a race so that I stay humble.

2015 was a wild year! I was selfish in my running goals and put many hours into achieving those goals.  At the Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon  I had the pleasure of meeting around mile 10 Amanda.  She was a young beautiful women running her very first marathon.  She was having a tough day (so was I) we struck up a conversation and for a few miles got to know each other.  Amanda kept telling me that I could go ahead and push forward, but I could not leaver her.  We stayed together throughout the remaining miles and crossed the finish line hand in hand.  After a big hug we moved on the the after party, then went our separate ways.   I ended up searching her out and finding her on Facebook and we now have plans to run a few events together in 2016.

Meeting Amanda changed me. Milwaukee Running Festival was my slowest marathon and toughest to date, but most enjoyable. Running with Amanda and chatting with her took the focus off of my goals and put hers at the forefront of what we were doing…that is what made the experience so amazing.  Instead of the race being about me it was about something bigger!

I run for my Uncle Guy, but I also want to help new runners achieve their goals.  Throughout the years I have made a TON of mistakes and learned at a lot. It brings me great joy to pass this knowledge on and not only honor my Uncle who is such a giving person, but also introduce the wonderful benefits of running to others.  Hence why my 2016 New Year’s Resolution is – Pay it Forward! I am so excited for the adventures that lie ahead in the year to come.  Life is a journey meant to be experienced and shared with others.  I cannot wait to see what unfolds.  Happy running folks, have an amazing year!

#BeKind #BeHappy #BeActive

Update 2/7/16 – In working to achieve my New Years Resolution of paying it forward I volunteered for the the Icebreaker Indoor on Saturday 1/30/16 and had a blast. I have worked races in the past, but it has been awhile.  I’m so glad that I did.  Not only did I have a great time, but gained valuable insight into all that goes into organizing and running an event. There is more to a smooth event than meets the eye. I helped hand out timing chips, check in runners, cut bananas & bagels, reset after each event (which by the way was one of the most disgusting things ever…we had to take the sweaty ankle chips from the previous race and put them back onto the chip board – GROSS), post results, and clean up the holding/warming area.  It was a busy day!  I loved every minute of it, so much so that I will also be helping out with the Lake Michigan Marathon September 3-4.

In addition to volunteering with  I also applied to the Lakefront Marathon to be a pacer for the upcoming race in 2016.  This is a dream race for my dad so I applied for his goal time of 5 hours. Fingers crossed that I get accepted.  I would love nothing more than to help him and other runners cross the finish line.

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Photo Credit: Bill Flaws (Running in the USA)


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