Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My life is much better today because of my ongoing commitment to fitness, but it wasn't always the case. There was a time(s) that my priorities were not in my best interest, and I found myself going down a less than favorable path. Fortunately, I decided to go down the road of self improvement by lacing up a pair of running shoes, and a bit later throwing my leg over the saddle of a bike. That decision has led to countless blessings, and a wonderful improvement in my life. Early on I had realized "my gift" was that of athletic ability. With commitment and a little effort, I was able to run and ride farther and faster than most of my friends. I also found I simply felt great after working out, and that's all it took. Running became a part of my life, and truth be told my best days are those that include a good workout.
 I remember when this all started, I learned of the holy grail of running - The Boston Marathon. It was much more than just a race, much more than a marathon. To enter it,  you had to qualify by running a marathon in a very respectable (FAST) time. Ask anybody that runs, regardless of the distance or their reason, to name a landmark race, and undoubtedly Boston will come up. If you are serious about running, then chances are at some point in your running career, running Boston was or is your dream. It certainly was for me, and by the grace of G_d, I had run fast enough to qualify for it back in the early 90's. I still have the entry form tucked safely away as a trophy of my proud accomplishment. I did not run it, instead I used the money we would have spent on the trip to buy my first road bike. No regrets...It has led to numerous great cycling memories and accomplishments, and a passion that burns strong to this day.
 Yesterday, when I heard of the devastating terrible tragedy that occurred at this years event, my heart sunk, and I had a sickened feeling inside. I ultimately decided not to watch the news on TV or the internet. Instead I reflected on how tragic this act was. It was unimaginable to think of running in such a great race, so proud, with family and friends there to support your wonderful accomplishment, only to experience such an unspeakable nightmare. So sad...
 My family life has always focused on going to races and supporting each other. Always hurrying to the finish to be there for, and congratulate each other on our accomplishments both big and small. So many early weekend mornings have been spent waking up at a ridiculously early hour and driving to each others "big race".  It has always been a way of life for us, and something we feel keeps us close, and hope will be many happy memories of a close and supportive family. There is the feeling you get when you have succeeded and crossed the finish line, overcoming all challenges and obstacles that brought you to where you are at that moment. More often than not breaking down in tears of joy. This is the feeling you are supposed to have, this is how it should be, but the tears of joy were replaced by tears of extreme sadness yesterday afternoon. What should have been a celebration of tremendous commitment, numerous sacrifices, and great accomplishment turned into something so terribly tragic and sad. I have read that a majority of those injured were spectators. Those same family members and friends who were there to share the experience, the early morning wake ups on a weekend, and the hours of standing around to see and encourage those we love. It was these wonderful people who experienced such a terrible fate. My heart goes out to all of them, my prayers and thoughts are with them and their families as they try to heal from such a terrible tragedy.
  I had signed up to run the Chicago Marathon this year, and I will be doing so to honor all of you, and to thank my family and supporters for always being there for me. You truly inspire us to be the best we can be, to do what we do, and overcome all obstacles to reach our goals. Each and every one of you on the sidelines, with signs, clapping, whistling cheering and supporting, are TRULY an inspiration...

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