The Connection Runners + [why run?]

Found: Inspiration

I've been feeling a bit lethargic as of late. School officially started last Tuesday, so that meant I was back to work, back to hearing my alarm go off at 5:45 a.m, and back to having all of the energy sucked out of me by 130+ high school students every day.

Needless to say, my running suffered a lot this week. Along with resuming my "tires-me-out-immediately" and "how-am-I-going-to-function-like-this-for-the-next-9-months" schedule, the hubs and I had something planned almost every night last week. I ran only seven miles; hopefully, the running gods will look upon me with pity this coming week as I try to resume, with grace and determination, my quest to squash the 2-hour half marathon.

Luckily, I got to play spectator this weekend at an event that truly rejuvenated my spirit and feet. A good friend of ours, Matt, competed in his first-ever 1/2 Ironman triathlon in Tawas, and we tagged along with his parents to show our support.

The 1/2 Iron was only one of the three events taking place at 3Discipline's annual Tawas Tri fest, so we actually got to see a ton of athletes take on frigid Lake Huron temps and gnarly, windy bike courses.

Matt's parents, Kevin, and I set up spectating shop all over the 1/2 course to catch Matt as he worked his way through the race. We saw him multiple times: diving into 59 degree water for the swim, pushing it hard on the bike, and finally completing the two-loop 13.1 mile run course. Though we could tell he was tired, he really hauled ass and finished within his goal time.

It was awesome to be on the spectating side of a race for once, and we were so thrilled for Matt. He really only got into this whole crazy running and cycling thing in the last year or so, so to be finishing a 1/2 Iron was pretty spectacular.

One of the best parts of the day came as we camped out on the run course for the final leg of the tri. It was a pretty desolate, albeit flat and quick, course that ran through some quiet Tawas roads. We decided to sit on the side of the road to wait for Matt. Because there were so few other spectators along the route, we began to clap and cheer for the athletes as they ran by, and eventually Matt's dad blared some Eddie Money tunes from his SUV to provide some entertainment.

As athletes ran by, sweaty, disheveled, and burned out, many of them thanked us for being on the course and for rocking out with Eddie Money. A few even stopped to shake our hands or sing along to the tunes.

I was amazed and inspired by the will the athletes had at this point in the race. Nearly 5 hours in, and they were still going, still pushing through, even if that meant taking a quick walk break or scaling back their pace. Though many were obviously seasoned veterans, several were people I would have never thought of as "triathletes", much less one to finish a 1/2 Iron. But they were out there, running 13 miles after biking 56 and swimming almost a mile, perhaps trying to hit a PR or just finish their first race.

I wish I could go back and shake all of their hands now, maybe slap them a high five. I'd love to say thanks to the almost 200 people out on that course that helped me to right my mind, to remember what it feels like to be inspired, to know that one can complete a goal that sometimes seems so far away.

Perhaps I'll join them next year for a 70.3, too.

Today's Point Two: Spectate at a race. You'll never know what you might find.