Thursday, March 17, 2011

I Have a Challenge For You!

"Anybody can be a runner. We were meant to move. 
We were meant to run. It's the easiest sport." 
~Bill Rodgers

Near the end of my half marathon on March 5th, at the very last water station, there was a big group of volunteer girls that were super sweet. Even though I was running completely by myself they all jumped up and started cheering as soon as they saw me getting close and had nothing but words of encouragement for me for my last 2 miles. It was pretty great!

As I got a little bit past the aid station I heard one of the girls say to another "If she can do this, I bet I could do this too". It made me feel really proud to be a runner and of the lifestyle changes I have made over the last couple of years. Even at the very back of the pack I was still doing something amazing for myself and something inspirational to someone else.

I know how inspiring road races can be.  I was inspired to run by Ron Morelli from season 7 of the Biggest Loser. In the second to last episode the final 4 contestants all complete a full marathon as their last challenge. He walked the entire marathon (with a cane for crying out loud!) and finished in 13:15:48. The guy is my freaking hero! I thought to myself ‘Look at him. As much as he struggles to get around he is out there doing something amazing while I sit here on the couch and watch’. It made me realize I was taking my body for granted and that’s when my sister and I decided to do a marathon together.

Ron and his son Mike after walking a full marathon with a cane!

It’s hard not to be inspired by a road race. There is just something about it. It’s hard to put your finger on it. It’s just amazing! The energy and excitement are amazing and there just isn’t anything else quite like it. Even shorter distances like a 5k (3.1 miles) are amazing to be around.

I think the reason it inspired real action for me and my sister (and hopefully for that girl at my half marathon) is that it gives you a mental picture of the end result. To just start running on your own is hard. Really hard. It’s easy to give up after not to long. There is always an excuse, too tired after work, I get up early enough as it is, I have a bad knee/back/neck etc. New Year’s resolutions rarely (if ever) motivate a long term active lifestyle no matter how many people have tried. It’s hard to just ‘will’ yourself to an active lifestyle even when you know all the benefits it can bring.

But to actually see it, to have a mental image of the confidence, enjoyment and absolute elation running can bring. To see someone that has all the same excuses not to be active as you do and still they do it anyway, well now that really gives you something to grab on to!

So if you are not a runner, I have a challenge for you! Go find a local race in your area (if you live in a city of any kind of size there is probably one this very weekend) and go check it out. Go cheer on the runners and just be a spectator.  Make up some fun signs, buy some noise makers and go help make the local runners feel amazing! The runners will love it! Notice  all the different kinds of people who race, see if there is someone there who looks like you. I think there is a good chance you will find a reason to be motivated to run and it will give you a mental picture to hold onto and help keep yourself motivated as you get started.

If you are a runner, I have a challenge for you too! Invite everyone you know in the whole wide world (I mean it) to your next race. Knowing you are going to have a lot of support will likely push you to run your best race so there is your selfish incentive. I’m thinking it will probably inspire a few of them to give this running thing a shot too.

And when they do, tell them to invite everyone they know to their first race too!

So what do you think?  Will you accept my challenge?  If you do please come back here and tell us about your experience!

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