At one point in my adult life I was confused about what all those stickers on cars with numbers meant. I wasn’t a runner and honestly I didn’t think I new any runners. I certainly had never had a conversation about running distance races with anyone. At that point in my life I was still going with the theory I learned from my dad “When I see at least one person running with a smile, I will start running.” So running itself was a crazy concept to me. When I finally figured out what those 13.1 and 26.2 stickers signified, I didn’t get why those people felt the need to brag about what they did. I mean come on I played in volleyball and basketball leagues for exercise and fun and I didn’t put stickers all over my care about it.
My opinion changed several years ago when I TRIED to become a runner the first time. Then I began to understand what running 13.1 or 26.2 actually took. How much of an accomplishment it is. At that point, I was running 30 to 45 minutes regularly and just trying to actually run the entire time. 5K distances took everything I had. I wondered for a long time if I would ever be able to run 3.1 miles without walking. I started thinking about those 13.1 and 26.2 stickers and knew running distances like that would be impossible for me.
All of a sudden it was perfectly clear to me. At some point in time it may have been impossible for that person driving the car with a 13.1 sticker. If someone achieves the impossible they probably want to tell the world. Not necessarily to brag, but to show everyone else that the impossible can become possible. My stickers are not on my car to do anything for me. My stickers are on my car, because someday someone may see one of those stickers and think OK if he can do it so can I. Encouraging other people to push themselves is all it’s about for me.
Because of Run Richmond and my willingness to share my story with pretty much anyone that will listen, I hear from a lot of people that I am an inspiration. That always makes me uncomfortable and I usually try to make some comment that makes it clear that there is nothing special about me. I don’t have any more will power than anyone else. I don’t have anymore physical abilities than anyone else and I certainly don’t have any more self-confidence than anyone else.
The thing about me is, I decided that I needed to make a change and for a few years I worked trying to figure out what that changed needed to be. Eventually, things started coming together and running plus diet changes helped me to lose weight and get healthier. That’s when I found my passion, but it isn’t running. My passion is helping other people figure out that the impossible isn’t really impossible. I have a 26.2 sticker on my car to go along with the 13.1 that I got last year. Those aren’t there for me today. They are there for the me 4 years ago.
I don’t like being called an inspiration because I don’t need or want any focus on me today. I want the focus to be on the me a year and a half ago. Because then I was 250 pounds and wanting to lose weight and so many other people are in the exact same spot. That guy needed to be around other people on the same journey. That guy needed to have more people to run with that thought 13.1 was impossible so they could push each other. I hope that more people will come out to Run Richmond to walk. We get walkers, but not as many as I would like. I wish we could get more people that want to finish their first 5K. I get that showing up on a Saturday morning Group Run can be intimidating. We have some people that show up who can run circles around me, but everyone there is a person that has a desire to be around other people trying to use running/walking to better themselves.
Showing up on Saturday mornings shouldn’t be intimidating. When you see me don’t see a guy that can run a marathon. See the guy that missed his initial marathon goal by almost an hour. See the guy that failed miserably at getting his training runs done because he couldn’t make himself get up early enough during the school year. I’m trying to figure things out just like everyone else. Running isn’t my passion…seeing small success along the way is the only reason I keep doing it. The cool part is that those successes don’t even have to be mine. Come join us on some runs and maybe my successes can motivate you but I promise that your successes will motivate me.