Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Inspired Runner and the guy in the wheel chair

Do you have someone in your life the inspires you? Do you know someone that you want to be like? Do you envy someone who is better than you. It can be a parent, a pro athlete, a business mentor, your big brother, or the guy across the street for that matter. Does thinking about the success, the dedication, or the work ethic of a specific person in your life, help push you to higher limits?

This week I had three different people ask me about my inspiration to run. My answer to one of them was about posting pictures on FB. You notice that all the pictures of me from my beach vacations are either in a shirt, or from the neck up. I want to be able to post pictures that show me laying around the pool, and not be embarrassed about looking pregnant. My other answer was Haagen-Dazs carmel cone... Really. Have you ever tried the stuff. Two full pints so far this week. It's only Tuesday!

I was trying to be funny. Maybe because I was not sure about the real answer.

But then, I thought, they deserved a better answer. What is it that gets someone off the couch after two decades of laziness, and motivates them to run? Since I happen to be putting alot of time into this subject, I should try to find out for myself, the real answer.

Well, I can tell you that my practice of keeping track of how many people say hello back to me when I give them a smile and a hello is sometimes part of it. Tonight was one of those nights. I was running along in 101' temperature and feeling pretty good. I was four out of four when I ran by a homeless man pushing a shopping cart. I said hello as I ran buy... Instant disappointment... he ignored me... until I was past him by about 15 feet, and then a polite, not to strong, "hello." I gotta admit, that made me smile. Then when I came into a group of guys on their way to US Airway Center for a game, I got a thumbs up and a giant smile from a guy who turned and watched me go buy. He followed it up with a "Dude. You gotta be crazy". I smiled again.

I picked a role model for myself a while back. What do you do next? Well, I am a pretty smart guy, I need to do stuff more like he does. And one of the things he does is get his ass off the couch and run. 5k, 10k, half marathons, and marathons. Nice job Adam. Why couldn't I pick someone who played pool, or bowled. I had to pick a guy who runs marathons. He eats healthy. He makes more than twice as much money as I do, and he has been married to his wife longer than I have been married to mine. Nuff said.

So I am running along in this crazy heat and I am thinking about what inspires me. I am already in just a great mood, and actually thinking that the soreness in my tight calf muscles feels good. I am looking up ahead and see a guy in a wheelchair pushing himself down the sidewalk towards me. Remember, it's over 100' out here. As I approach the guy, he has a beaming grin from ear to ear, and he says "Hello, great way to get your exercises, and it's the perfect time of night for it", and he wheels on by. Seriously, what in the hell do you say to that? All I could come up with was "Thank you, and to you as well." When I got to the next light and had a lady tell me "good-by" in response to my hello, I was still smiling from ear to ear.

Sometimes I am inspired by the fact that I am outside earning the right to sweat. Sometimes I motivate myself just by thinking about what I might come across on my run that and can write about. I was going by a vacant lot on the edge of downtown tonight, and in the middle of it sat a busted up computer monitor. Somebody beat the living crap out of this thing. All I could think of was that scene in "Office Space" when they went all gangster on the copy machine in the middle of an overgrown lot... and I smiled some more. It is weird what motivates people to exercise.

I bought a domain name a while ago. I hope to use it as a blog, but with a specific purpose. It will have stories and quotes, and video's. I hope to be able to produce a newsletter that goes out to a difined group of people. I am currently practicing for this web-site. Can I convey my idea's in a way that gets people to take action? The guy that inspires me to be out taking action doesn't even know he is involved. What does that type of influence require? I like the blog you're reading right now because I get to rant and tell stories about not much, and try to relate it to something I really enjoy. My other site will be for inspiring other people to take action, and see if they can feel what I feel.

Sometimes the person that motivates me to run are my friends, always challenging me. Sometimes I am inspired by the fact that my buddy is out there doing it, so I have no excuses. Sometimes I am inspired by my big brother. I am always inspired by my wife Jane. She makes me want to be a better man. And if I am able to become one, she deserves to have me around longer.

So there you are. You may have gotten a little more than you bargained for when you asked me what inspires me to run. My other website is TheInspirationalRunner.com. Don't look it up. It's not even under construction. I need to earn the right from my mentors and role models, my friends and my wife. I need to earn the right from runners. Get inspired. Get out on the road. Until then, if you see me run by, please say hello. Or good-by.

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