Sunday, January 13, 2013

One Way to Get Inspired: Watch a Marathon

If you're new to running, there's nothing more inspiring than watching other people meet their goals.  (And you think, "Yeah!  That could be me!")  This morning we found some fast runners near the end of their Houston Marathon, working HARD in COLD, RAINY uncomfortable weather at mile 22 and 23.  It didn't look easy.  It didn't look like something a person would do unless they had a darn good reason for being out there. 

It was a good reminder:  Every runner has a story.

That's what I love about watching races.  Motivations differ: to get healthy, to lose weight, to face personal demons, to distract oneself from sorrow, to inspire someone else, to just plain take control of one's life....every runner has their own story.

What we don't see are the days of self-doubt.  We don't see the miles logged in the dark cold days of winter, nor the wet blanket humid days of summer.  We don't see the decisions made--to work or to run?  To spend social time with friends and family or training hours pounding out mile after mile?  Yet there they are, running in pain after 20+ miles, and they just keep going.  It inspires me every time.

It is also fun to cheer the runners.  "Way to go!"  "Good job!"  Your encouragement does make a difference.  Be noisy, be exuberant!

Here's another way to get in the groove:  visit the Expo, especially one before a big city marathon.  There are bargains to be had--discounted shoes and running clothes--yahoo!  Want to know about heart rate monitors?  Talk to the product representatives.  Eager to try new sports drinks and energy chews?  Check out their samples.  Looking for a new challenge?  Visit with volunteers and race directors from other runs and marathons...perhaps you'll be inspired to set a new goal.  Best of all, you'll see runners of all shapes and sizes there, each excited about their upcoming run.

Big city marathon expos may schedule talks or autograph sessions with running legends.  Last year's Houston Marathon Expo had Frank Shorter (r) the 1972 Olympic Marathon Champion and Rod Dixon (l) Australian Olympian and bronze medalist at 1500 meters.  This year, Ryan Hall was at the Expo, and there was a long line waiting for an autograph from the first American to break an hour in the half marathon.

After the race is over, check the final results for your age range.  You might find your training run times are closer to the top of your peers than you realize! What inspiration for next year's goals!

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