Wednesday, January 14, 2015

IRun4 Hunter - and my biggest inspiration

Back in July, I signed up to be a runner in IRun4.  IRun4 is a non-profit organization started by a man who had a friend who physically couldn’t run.  Athletes of all kinds (runners, walkers, bikers, etc.) are paired with people who have special needs and are unable to perform those activities.  For those of us that are runners, why shouldn’t we run for someone else, something bigger than ourselves?
I’ve included the link because I think they’re website is amazing and the more people that sign up, the more people that get paired up.  As I said, I signed up way back in July.  I watched the list of “Runners Matched” every week and watched my name slowly go from the bottom of over 3,000 people.  During that time, I saved little things from each of my races and wrote things down on post-it notes that I knew I’d eventually want to share with my buddy.  When I tore my ACL in September, one of my first thoughts was, oh no, I’m going to let my buddy down!  I was far enough down on the list though that I realized that I could let my buddy know of my progress throughout rehab, and when I finally started training for a race again, my buddy and I would literally be starting from scratch.  What a perfect time.
 You know the phrase, everything for a reason, and good things come to those who wait?  Well, I waited for months, and I was finally paired, right before Christmas, with my buddy Hunter.  God made me wait that long because he had someone super special in mind for me.  Hunter and I have only been buddies for just under a month but he has already inspired me more than anyone could possibly understand.  Hunter is 14, and has some special needs.  I won’t go into much detail because Hunter’s story is not mine tell.  However, the story of Hunter’s inspiring me and pushing me IS mine to tell.
 Whenever I am at PT, and I’m in pain and I feel as though I can’t push myself any further, I continue because I think of Hunter and his daily struggles.  If my little 14 year old, Batman loving buddy can fight the good fight, I can certainly do the same.  I remember doing my first trampoline run at PT shortly after I received an e-mail from Hunter’s mom about him.  That night, I just wanted to get done with PT as fast as possible and go home.  I was cold, in pain and frustrated with my progress.  My PT told me to jog the ladder at least 4 times.  I wanted to quit.  I even told my PT that.  She told me to figure out how to keep going…I ran through my mind and I thought of my buddy.  I thought of how I really didn’t want to tell him that I gave up.  My situation is only temporary.  I started my ladder and with tears streaming down my face, I realized that even though I’m running for Hunter, he’s the one inspiring me.  That night at PT, I made it through 7 ladders, 30 squats, and 20 leg lifts…after I wanted to give up. 
 These days when I want to give up, I simply think of Hunter.  I am so lucky to have been matched with a great kid and am so excited to see where our journey takes us.  Please check out IRun4.  Even if you’re not a distance runner, if you take yoga, or bike, or walk, please sign up – you never know who will inspire you.
I would also like to give a shout out and a congratulations to his parents who celebrated their anniversary earlier this week! 

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