Category : General
Category : General
noun \ˈfȯr-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\
1: strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage (Merriam-Webster)
I had originally intended to write this weeks blog about two of our runners who have or are about to begin an incredible feat. David Uhlir competed in a one-hundred (100) mile race. He completed 66.8 miles, which to me is unfathomable considering I turned tail and quit after 1.71 miles just yesterday. The other is “I Run For…” (IR4) Vice President Amy Courts She is about to embark on a 50 mile run, a true test of grit and fortitude.
Now, please don’t get me wrong here, each runner or athlete has fortitude. We consistently push ourselves beyond goals we once thought unattainable, but what drives us? What pushes us the extra mile (or a multitude of miles in David and Amy’s case)?
Sure David, Amy, and most of us were all runners or athletes before IR4. But IR4 has made the challenges seem more worthwhile. I know in my case it sure has. In other cases it has inspired others to join in the fun! But let me tell you about the true warriors; the strongest individuals in IR4…
First up is Zion. He is a machine who never says quit. Despite the odds stacked against him, he has defied the odds. This hero has had both feet amputated and recently got prosthetic legs. He and his sisters Zoe and Zanna (All three children have special needs) played baseball this past weekend! To add to this, today he ran, with his mom Heather Redingon in tow, a 2.9 mini marathon on the streets of Nashville. Even the famous Toby Mac had the privilege of hanging out with Zion – Toby must be honored!
Next up is Heavenly! Her name is so appropriate! This young girl has her sights set on bigger and better targets. Heavenly has been paired up with Carol Hagstrom but it turns out Heavenly may end up being one of IR4’s best runners! She competed in the Special Olympics in her hometown in Tennessee. She was so amazing she has been chosen to compete at the state level! So I ask, who’s the athlete now?
I have to say, life at I Run For… never gets dull. This week we have hit our 600th member mark, 92 pairings, and we even have our own OFFICIAL song – “I Run To You” by Silversyde
We gain our inspiration from the inspirational, but sometimes we need to open our eyes to see it first. So with that in mind, I ask who do YOU run for?
This last month has been particularly hard on me. I’ve been living in a hotel in a small rural North Dakota town where the main attraction is the obelisk erected at the geological center of North America. While the people here are very nice, it’s not home, nor is it my future home of Nashville. To compound the feelings of desolation, this year’s winter seems eternal. I started feeling sorry for myself.
So when I least expected it, a friend sent me a facebook message. He was telling me how great his run was yesterday and how he had an average 7:30 minute/mile. I told Brock about my woes and he bluntly said, “It’s more of a question of whether or not you think it’s worth it.” You see, Brock has lost a lot of weight since he started running June 11, 2012. He did it, without quitting – he lost 110 pounds!
So this morning I donned my Under Armour cold gear and laced up my Nike Free 5.0 running shoes and took off. Running is extremely therapeutic for me. It’s my time to talk to God. I tell him what I am frustrated with, what I’m happy for, and thank him for the people in my life. Today was no different with the exception of the revelation.
Satan has been using my environment to keep me down. He’s good at telling me I am worthless and I can’t and shouldn’t run. He’s good at making me believe that I’m not really making a difference. So during my run today I decided I’m not worthless, I am loved! I will continue to try bring joy into the lives of others. If I reach just one person, I am not a failure. Michael is my inspiration, Brock is my inspiration, Jesus is my inspiration.
We now have 562 members,75 matches in six different countries (Canada, Australia, Mexico, Grenada, Italy, and the United States) and this very blog being read in 10 countries! So go to Hell, Satan – I can, I will, I DO! I Run For Michael, who do YOU run for?
Each of us lives life in our own way. We are independent, well, for the most part we are. As we grow, we reach certain milestones. At first the milestones are more for someone else’s joy; for example, our first birthday (we certainly don’t remember that!), our first steps and our first words. I’m fairly certain my parents now regret my first words because I haven’t stopped since! While we may look at old worn and tattered pictures of us with cake all over our face and hair, the nostalgia is felt only within the hearts of our elders.
As we age, we begin to take ownership of the milestones. Who remembers losing their first tooth, and the visit from tooth fairy? How about your first kiss? I would like to say I remember it but I would have to give up my man card. The more time passes, the less trivial the milestones become. I remember it well – the day I finally walked across the stage to receive my high school diploma. I remember double checking to see if it was signed because I didn’t take school seriously. I remember the day my children were born like it was yesterday.
Another milestone I remember is my first 5k run. It was January 26th, 2013. It was for Sunshine Fest, a local organization raising money to build a hospitality house. I remember this well because not only was it my first 5k, but it was also the first official race for Michael. I held back a lot of tears crossing the finish line; the threshold of the Ralph Engelstad Arena. My friend Kerri was there cheering me on with all of her might and the metallic clanging of her cowbell got me pushing harder. That was the beginning of “I Run For…”
So here we are, just two and a half months later and the milestones are racking up! We have started branching out from people with Down syndrome, to autism, to cerebral palsy, and are working toward an “I Run For…” remembrance to be headed up by Yvonne Jones!
On April 3rd, 2013, “I Run For…” hit TWO fantastic marks. The first is its 500th group member, Desiree Winnett, who represents the fourth of five countries we have reached. The second benchmark is the 50th match! The lucky pair is Tessa Haft, daughter of Jeri Haft and her runner Kathy Simmons who is the mother of Board member and fellow runner Lesley Larson
There seemed to be a theme on the number five this week (not sure if you noticed it) but we also made its presence known in a fifth country! We are truly international with members in Canada, Australia, Grenada, Mexico, and the United States.
The milestones of the individuals in the group are as bold as for the group itself. And as varied as the individuals. Whether it is to run a 5K, a half marathon, 100K, walk more, do more weight lifting and Cross Fit – each of the runners has milestones ahead. And those we are running for have milestones of healing from surgery, learning to walk, and developing into incredible people despite overwhelming odds against them.
As we all encourage each other and cheer for each milestone, we champion the idea that we are all improving and adding to the value of each other’s’ lives. What an incredible movement we have begun here. And imagine where we will be in another two and a half months!
So which milestones have you created in your life? More importantly, who do YOU run for?