Thursday, November 03, 2005

MY NEW HERO (well, one of them...)

I've just "met" Cherie Gruenfield on Ironmitch's blog. She wins Ironman triathlons in the 60-64 age group. Now, I'm not sure I want to be quite that skinny, but I'd like to be that tough 10 years from now, and I'd like to have her muscles. And, Cherie uses her sport to reach out to troubled youth and head them in a more positive direction.

This is something that nags at me.... how can I help others benefit from my training and racing? I am self-conscious that it's "all about me."

  1. But I've had folks tell me I've inspired and encouraged them. A fellow racer at Chesapeakeman told me he'd entered the race after he started reading my excited, enthusiastic posts on a local email group. He entered the race because of me, and I hadn't even done an IM yet! Dawn told me she ran 15K without walking at all, for the first time ever, thinking of me finishing my IM -- during which I walked a lot!! WJ decided to train for an Ironman, after I "survived" mine... she said she'd been wanting to but needed to know someone who had done one. Nancy had already decided but I suspect my survival reassured her.
Over the years I've had other followers... my husband Steve started running and completed a lot of local races and 2 marathons, and lost 40#, back in the 1980's. Our daughter Val in Ohio also started running and ran 2 marathons, pushing 2 children in a jog stroller during most of her training. Neither of these folks still runs, though, so I must have slipped up somewhere (maybe gone too far overboard in my own endeavors?) but they started running and achieved goals they never entertained before, because of my running. And I guess it doesn't have to be a lifelong addiction to have been a positive influence and something they're glad they did. Daughter-in-law Jamie runs when she can fit it into her working-commuting-night-shift-day-sleeping-mom schedule and has "indefinite definite plans" to run a marathon for Team in Training, which I did a few years ago; her mom's youth group raised money for me, selling candles. So I encourage Jamie, and I affected those kids, too. Then there's the young boy who was my TNT honored patient. I have a picture of him running a 5K a couple weeks after I finished my marathon for him. He didn't survive his leukemia. But in the picture he is radiant. He and his family were so happy about my running in his honor. We stayed in touch for years, even after he died.

So it's not all about me. I've been told indirectly by a member of the extended family that there are better ways to spend my timef; that some other family members "used" to run" before their priorities changed (read "for something more important.") But if just by putting one foot in front of the other I can touch, encourage, and inspire a few people here and there to achieve goals... I have a mission. Maybe a calling. Maybe even a responsibility.

Thank you, Cherie Gruenfield!

I inspired "myself!" I went and ran. I mean, how can I inspire people to run if I don't run? 35 minutes, with a 5-minute walk at the 20-minute mark. Then, just at 35 when I was "done," a message was sent to me in the form of a girl running towards me, who turned out to be on her out-trip of a 6-miler, running my pace. So I turned around and went with her, ending up with an hour of running. She just did the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon for TNT. I told her how she was inspiring me to keep running! I told her about my return to running after my Ironman and she said I was her new hero. What goes around, comes around!


Mica said...

Ah, Lewisville! Thats not too far from Rockwall, about an hour. How long are you going to be there? Email me at micajoy at

nancytoby said...

Where are you settling down for the winter? Why not look ahead to see where you can volunteer?

For example:

Fundraising is great, but it gets old after a while!!

And you can tell those sanctimonious folks that act like they have something better to do than exercise, "What? Don't you think it's important that I stay healthy so that I can live a long life?"

Ellie said...

Yeah, that could work, volunteering. (Although surely it would be more meritorious to volunteer in a soup kitchen, like the aforementioned extended-family member...)