Sunday, March 4, 2012

Why We Do What We Do: Albany Half

It's an interesting question. Why do we do what we do? I think why its such an interesting one is that its completely and utterly different for every human on this planet. I can say that with reasonable certainty that I know myself really well. I know why I do what I do in most facets of my life, yet it would be overly confident for me to say that I knew the "WHY" in all facets.

This week wasn't an ordinary one because the departure of three very close guests (I would call them family) left the walls of Hilton Head Health. Its going to be weird heading into work tomorrow and not seeing their familiar faces, but at some point every guest has to exit Hilton Head Health. I think what's different about these three is that they've clearly emulated my "Why" for showing up with a smile, positive attitude and desire everyday. Their commitment, dedication and sincere DRIVE to change themselves was and IS absolutely incredible. I think what surprised me the most though is how much I truly impacted them. I had an idea, but man am I thankful they let me know. All three expressed such gratitude for the personal training sessions, our talks and the support. Did I really do all that much?

My honest answer is I don't think I really did a whole lot, but clearly we developed deep relationships here. I think we're now all emotionally attached because they are my "WHY" for being at Hilton Head Health. These three beautiful, hardworking and caring people make it all worth it. They make working hard, taking on 10 appointments a day and going the extra mile IMPORTANT. Any extra hour I stay late in the office or any race I run these days can easily go back to these three (I can pinpoint other H3 guests as well - of course you know who you are). The fact of the matter is WOW am I grateful. 23 years old, I've found a gift in myself that positively impacts the lives of others and I'm in an environment that I can use it. Can you ask for anything more?

This weekend, I traveled to the Albany Half marathon in Georgia to defend my 1st place finish established last year. I have to note that to me it is TRULY about PRs and not the finishing place, but you do have to go back and defend right? :) Anyways, I found Saturday to be pretty memorable and unforgettable. Not because of the weather, but because of what I was thinking about the whole time...

As the 7am gun fired, It began to sprinkle and the drops quickly eased into a down pour for the first 3 miles. I hung back on the 1st mile and settled into a 5:50 pace (a little quick than I was planning). After that, I took over the lead of the pack holding 5:55 for the next 4 miles. Another runner came up and overtook me and at that point I had realized I'd gone out too fast! My pace settled back between 6:00 to 6:10 minute miles and at mile 7 two other runners zoomed by me (actually college kids who are on scholarships for running haha). Anyways, I was starting to get nervous and I thought this was the end for me. I thought it was going to be a crappy race. I mean it was raining, 70 degrees, gross humidity and to top it all off tornado sirens going off around mile 9 (what real runner is really going to stop?)!!! So as my pace continued to dwindle: 6:11, 6:17, 6:21, and another runner began to close in on me something strange happened. At mile 11, I took a mild glance at the bracelets on my right wrist. Do you know who gave me them?

Of course it was my "Why" three. One of the bracelets means courage, the other fearlessness and the third ... welll I just look at it and think BELIEVE :) I don't think I'll ever take these off because I quickly witnessed my pace drop to 6:02, 6:00, and then 5:55 for the last 1/4 mile. How did I have enough in the tank? All I was thinking is that I needed to have courage for them, I needed to be fearless even though my legs were getting tight and I needed to believe that I could finish strong because they were thinking of me. These three have such belief in me as a person that it makes me stronger. It did in this race, but it also will for the rest of my life. They have proven to me what my "Why's" really are...

I wake up at 5am with the same "Why's" that are clearer now than ever: To be a good person - To be a role model - To inspire others that anything is possible as long as you believe and pursue - To show others that they are not alone - To accomplish things I didn't even think were possible - To push my body to it's fullest capacity - To do this all for my family, friends, guests - To challenge others to change - To make others not expect anything less then their best - To show people that living healthy feels amazing - To prove to them that they can do more than they think they can ... and above all ... To live life in the positive, never saying I can't do something, and understanding that I truly can and will affect others.

That's enough "Why" for me. It's your turn...

3.03.12 - Albany Half - 1.19.55 - 4th Overall - 1st Age Group