Running Inspiration

It's been a week since the 3rd Illinois Marathon event. People are still talking about it around town - the event's impact on the community, people and the local economy. Planning for next year's event (April 23-24, 2012) has started.

At the end of last week's event, I've decided to run the marathon in 2012. It's not a decision made at the spur of the moment, buoyed by the all the excitement of the weekend, but a conscious one. I thought about running the marathon this year, but never made the commitment. I know the reality and time commitment required to train for such an event, and I wasn't ready.

I'm ready now, but only because a couple of my co-worker friends have inspired me to make the commitment. Because two years ago, neither of them had ever run a road race in their lives. And last weekend, they both finished their first marathons.

Meet Sara:
Marathon Sara
OK, if you've read my blog for a while, you've already met Sara, because her daughter and my daughter are friends. Sara's daughter managed to get Erica involved with soccer, something we never thought Erica would take a liking to, and now Erica is an avid soccer player.
Two years ago, Sara and her husband, Al, found themselves stuck in traffic one Saturday morning. Not a normal occurrence in our small town. After seeing the large crowd of runners in the street, they realized they were stopped because of the marathon. They also noticed that these marathon runners were not typical "Marathoners", ie, Kenyans, or even the super fit athletes portrayed on TV and in commercials - these runners were normal looking people, much like themselves. I don't know how it all came down, but after that experience, Sara and Al decided to take up running.

I recall they ran their first 5K race on the 4th of July that year and then again in October. They trained for the 1/2 marathon in 2010. Sara ran another 1/2 marathon in November of 2010. Then she decided to train for this marathon. My excuse for not training is the time commitment due to my kids' activities. Well, Sara also has two kids, the same age as mine. She works longer hours than me. And because of a [well deserved] promotion, she's currently in the process of moving her family to Michigan. Sara trained for this race all by herself. As a solo runner myself, I know how hard that is and I know it takes sheer determination (and probably some stubbornness).

Meet Chris:
Marathon Chris
Chris and his wife, Amber, cheered on the 2009 Marathon runners, as one of their family members was running the 1/2 marathon. At the time, both of them were involved in a "Biggest Loser" competition at Amber's work and Chris went on to win the contest. I'm not sure when Chris started to run 5K races, but I know he was running them in the Fall of 2009. In 2010, he ran the 1/2 Marathon. With a combination of the running, TaeKwonDo and diet, Chris has lost approximately 1/3 of his body weight (I'm not quite sure how much he's lost - I think he's shrunk at least that much, if not more).
In November, he ran the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon in a blistering 1 hour, 40 minutes time. That's a 7:40 minute mile pace. For 13 miles.
For the Illinois Marathon, he trained in 9 degree weather, ran an entire 13 miles on a treadmill (without falling off) and endured ailments like pneumonia. His time in last week's marathon - 3 hours and 38 minutes.

So these two are my marathon inspirations. They represent the epitome of those sayings - "Anyone can do it", "You're Never Too Old to Start Running" and "Just Do It". I hope I can be as successful next year as they were last week. My hat is off to both of you, Sara and Chris!

Well Earned

Puna  – (May 11, 2011 at 7:23 AM)  

Hats off to all you marathoners. I'm just glad I can run down the street and back.

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