Running Changes You

Running changes you.

True statement. Either, for good or for bad, a run changes how you feel, how you think and how you will live out your day and life.

Have a good run and you will generally have a good outlook on what comes your way. Have a tough run and you could face your day with more determination. Some runs are completed to prove something. Some runs are completed to merely check off to get you further and fitter to the next run.

I’m no expert runner. A novice at best but I have a few medals under my belt to feel the feels. The struggle. The victory. The scenic race. The iconic race. The painful races. The personal record and the ‘just get me to the finish line’ races. The fanfare. The lonely races. Then there’s the ‘God and me’ races. I believe God gives me strength beyond what my self imposed strength levels are so I rely on Him always.

Then there’s the why. Why get up early? Why run in the Midwest cold? Why run alone? Why schedule runs with friends? Why travel a distance to run a race? Why set your sights on a certain time? Why run through injury? My personal why was to say I ran a marathon. I saw my husband do it so why not me? Then we found a way to bring awareness to a dire situation in Kenya. We learned we can help bring clean water to a beautiful people that are sick from drinking dirty water. Children dying and mothers struggling to give the best for their child. My why became to run and raise money. A drastic shift from what I want to helping others. A clearer look at ‘do unto others’ or better yet ‘what you do for the least of these you do unto me’. Having visited Kenya a couple of times allowed me to walk among these people in the heat and see and smell the dirty water. Learning about how treacherous their daily walks become drove me to more training and more runs. When I began running 9 years ago I was young, I was healthy and we became apart of a community of fellow crazies who also gave up their time to run. Every Saturday was devoted to run together and strengthen one another. Young and old. Some fit and some overcoming shortcomings. I’ve heard many stories of lives changed here and in Kenya so I ask why not?

My husband, Scott, was the biggest advocate for this movement and it changed our whole family. We housed the equipment for these weekly runs and attended these annual races which turned into personal runs and many more people took on races near and far. I think from the first marathon Scott ran in Chicago in 2010 he believed he could run fast enough to qualify for Boston. Even Desi Linden, a local runner, and famed marathoner, who won last year’s Boston marathon, says it’s the epitome of marathons. The joke became Scott needed a Boston jacket that is proudly worn by qualified runners. Anyone can fundraise to get into a race or win by lottery but I believe this one should be reserved for the qualified. Scott ran with a few guys that pushed each other. They kept each other accountable to wake up and run and share stories, their advice and their lives. A band of brothers, they are and it’s admirable to say the least. They fight injuries and don’t complain. They have had a time to strive for and this weekend four of them have done just that. Scott actually qualified two times before this one that got him a coveted spot. He will lace up his shoes and don his bib and a huge smile on Monday to run his dream. I have run in some of Scott’s races or cheered him on from the crowded sidelines. Marathon spectators are serious to fight the crowds and city transportation to get a glimpse of their loved ones. They yell and jump up and down and carry crazy signs and cheer thousands of strangers before they see their runner come and go. They yell mantras and encouraging words and are filled with such joy to see their runner fulfill a dream. This Monday all my kids are here in Boston to cheer on their Dad. They have witnessed determination, persistence and down right hard work at its best. What an example of ‘Clodes don’t quit’.

As we land in Boston I glance over at Scott. He gives me a childish smirk. He’s humble but full of pride. I’m ready to cheer on my hero.

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