“Inspiration never arrived when you are looking for it.” Lisa Alther, American Novelist
Inspiration to an unmotivated runner is what ideas are to a writer with writer’s block. There are times it seems someone is blocking the door and won’t let you out for a run. Excuses form a line in your brain, and when the excuses are gone you can’t find the car keys; by the time you find the keys it’s too late. Rick Reilly wrote Worth the Wait nearly ten years ago and it still has the power to motivate a runner on a bad day. Worth the Wait should be required reading for distance runners.
Inspiration hit me over the head this week. It began at the Philly Triathlon. The only reason I went was because my son was competing, the first in the family to do a triathlon. I don’t know who was more excited, him or me.
I sat where the swimmers come out of the Schuylkill River with my camera ready to shoot when a para-athlete emerged from the water. He hopped up the bank, was handed his prosthesis by his trainer and took off for the cycling event. Next I walked over to watch the athletes transition from cycling to running and two runners passed me, one a blind runner on a tether. The unflinching courage and tenacity of those two athletes was enough to make anyone want to jump into the field and compete. I was excited to watch my son in the triathlon, and inspired by two athletes with extraordinary courage.
The week ended as inspiring as it began with a run around the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the wonderful people at Back on My Feet Philadelphia. Two staff members, Caitlin and Cathryn, had invited me to join the group Thursday on the museum steps to celebrate their 5th Anniversary. I’d read articles about BoMY over the years and been among their athletes at Philly races, but never had the opportunity to experience the warmth and fellowship of such a wonderful group of people. Everyone from the athletes to the volunteers and staff welcomed me as if I was one of their own, united by the common interest of running.
The BoMF athletes, men and women who had encountered challenges in life, wake to train at 5:30 in the morning and work their way up to the mile, 5K, 10K, 10-miler, half-marathon, and even the full marathon. These are extraordinary feats by inspiring human beings. I can’t imagine running as a medium for anything more important than helping people overcome challenges to get back on their feet
Before the week began I was looking for a little inspiration to go for a run; by the time it ended running had become the medium for that inspiration.