Stories of Inspiration…None of Them Mine

I am back in high school. Not because I saw INXS Monday night (although I did, and they ROCKED!) but because I am getting the same pre-track workout jitters that would have me running to the bathroom to puke back in the 80s. Back then track workouts were like boxing matches, with every girl fighting to be picked for the weekend races. There was no dawdling, no chatting, and certainly no walking. We raced the workouts, in a pack so tight that I’d be covered in cuts from the other girls’ spikes. We were friends but also rivals. And thinking about the evening workout would put my stomach in a knot for the entire day.

Of course these days track workouts are nothing like that. But for some reason I still get the stomach knot, still hope that track will be cancelled so I’ll get a reprieve. Yesterday was no different. I kept hoping for a thunderstorm or some other intervention. But the sky remained blue and cloudless right up until track time. When I got to the track I discovered it had just been resurfaced. Hooray! My hopes for an intervention had paid off. But of course we still did the workout…on the trail. And, as with all track workouts, now that it’s over, I’m glad I went.

I sometimes wonder about my level of commitment. I hope track gets cancelled, feel relieved when rain shortens my ride, keep using the heat as an excuse not to run fast, or at all, and I’ll find a reason not to swim if I can. (I’m sure I saw poop in the pool…oh, just a leaf?)  In short, I don’t really inspire. Which is why I’m using other peoples’ stories of inspiration.

Inspirational Story #1:

Sunday was Dog Days Triathlon in Broadlands, which my husband was racing, and which I raced last year. The day before the race he kept asking questions about the swim (which is a little different than other pool swims because it’s in a 50 meter pool) and the bike, and the run, and I kept getting annoyed and giving snippy answers because…well, I just don’t like questions. Race day I dragged two unwilling kids to the race and we got there just in time to see Stuart go out on the run. Kids were actually good once they were given the job of blocking runners who kept trying to run out of transition the wrong way. It was funny trying to block them while they attempted to barrel through us!

Stuart had a good race (although he felt parts of it could have been better…) and took 1st place in his age group! But it wasn’t until I was driving home that I realized what a big deal this was. A couple of months ago I mentioned to him that I was amazed by people who participate in races even though they have no chance of winning anything, because I’m not sure I could do that. He said, “what, you mean people like me?” which of course I didn’t, but he was right, since at that point he hadn’t won anything. Now he can’t say that any more! But I realized that winning his age group was a huge deal, because he’s never placed in the top 3 in his age group, let alone won it!

Inspirational Story #2:

So my friend Meggan (she of medal-envy), who was volunteering at Dog Days on Sunday, mentioned there was a woman participating in the race who could barely get through the swim. Meggan coaxed, encouraged, and verbally dragged this woman through the pool. While Meggan doesn’t think she did anything, and told the woman so when she completed the race, I disagree. Without Meggan’s help I think this woman would have given up. Without Meggan telling her “yes you can do it, just look at the lane lines and say blue, white, blue, white” I don’t think she would have been able to swim 400m. And the woman herself, who persevered and never gave up, in spite of her fear and panic and almost being last…that’s truly inspiring.

What inspires YOU?!


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