The marathon, any marathon, teaches you so many things. It teaches you how to build endurance to make it 26.2 miles; it teaches you how to fuel properly so that your body isn’t entirely depleted in the remaining miles; and, most importantly, it teaches you things about yourself that you never knew. It’s funny how you can live inside the same body all of these years and not truly live.
Here are just some of the lessons I learned leading up to and during NYC:
There are never enough thank yous. Whether it was IRL or on social media, or from a complete stranger, THANK YOU. Thank you for the support, encouragement, and kind words you have all expressed leading up to the start line, through 26.2 miles where I tried to feverishly update on Denise’s progress through Twitter and Facebook without falling in the road, or well after the day ended. Your support for Team Denise was unwavering and I can only hope that my excitement for guiding fueled your excitement, too. Thank you most of all to Achilles International for choosing me for such an incredible opportunity and for providing these resources to athletes with disabilities. Clearly, anything is possible.
Going out on a limb is good for the soul. Perhaps in a previous life I would have never submitted that application. In fact, I know I wouldn’t have. I was always pretty shy and reserved. In the past few years I’ve opened up more and have taken chances. I consider this to be one of those chances. Without going out on a limb and finding that certain something on its tip, I would’ve missed out on this experience. Note to self: go out on the limb more.
Helping out a journalism student will land you a story in the local paper. Here I just thought I was lending a hand to an NYU graduate student whose task was to profile a running guide for a project. Little did I know that she’d come back to tell me that her professor wanted her to pitch the story to my local paper. I was happy to oblige of course, especially if it meant bringing awareness to Achilles and/or to the possibility of other runners becoming guides. The interview was done two weeks prior to the marathon and I just wish I knew then what I know now. All in all, that was pretty darn cool.
You can meet new people in the strangest of places. Like bumping into running couple Pete and Meggie at the expo (Twitter friends whom I’ve never met before and who were running their first marathon); or meeting Thad Beaty, lead guitarist for the band Sugarland and IM Kona athlete, at the Generation UCAN booth; or cheering on Sarah Reinertsen, IM Kona athlete and Paralympian…without realizing it was Sarah Reinertsen (she was alongside us for a good portion of the race). Running often makes strange bedfellows because we all can do it. All that’s required is stepping out your front door with a little bit of heart.
There is no greater love than a compassion and kindness for others. Enough said.
Other inspiring stories from November 3rd that you might have missed: