Sunday, May 3, 2009
Recruiting a New Runner
There are many reasons I run. I love the freedom, feeling healthy, losing weight, being outside with nature-- I feel alive! I even embrace the aches and pains that go along with it. Now, I have a new reason to adore the pavement pounding--it's inspirational.
For the past several weeks, my friend, and co-worker Aaron, has been listening to all of my stories of a life on the run. Every morning at work, I tell him the tales of my last run. Where I went, how far, and how long it took me to finish. He would always seem interested but I had no idea these conversations were lighting a fire within him.
Aaron began to run. He started like many of us. He Ran for a few minutes then walked-- on and off- for the past couple of weeks. Last Tuesday he decided to take it to the next level. I told him I was running in the Louis J. Billitier 5K in downtown Buffalo and he reluctantly agreed to join me.
The day of the race we met in the registration area. He had the IPOD ready to go, proper attire, and was full of butterflies---ahh remember those first race jitters! I assured him he was going to be fine. I told him not to be concerned with time just run the whole way through and finish, finish, finish!
The gun went off and although I had planned to stick with him-- he asked me to go ahead at my speed. He wanted to zone out on his own. The course was pretty flat and very scenic. The backdrop was the surprisingly big Buffalo skyline along the shore of lake Erie. If you've ever seen "Bruce Almighty", which was filmed in Buffalo, it's the scene where Jim Carey and Morgan Freeman are walking on the water.
I finished in a record time for me- 22:50 and then raced to my car to get the camera to catch Aaron coming across his first finish line. 11 minutes later he did and he was running!
33 minutes is great for a first time runner! After the race, and once he caught his breathe, he turned and looked at me and told me I fueled his desire to run this and thanked me for helping him feel better than ever! Little did I know-- all of those stories had helped him catch the very contagious running bug. It was the best feeling-- better than any personal best running time. I had helped someone improve their life both emotionally and physically.
It gave me another reason to love this sport-- so much so-- that after the 5K I ran another 4 miles at the park, but only after a few beers with the worlds newest runner! Congrats Aaron!
P.S.- this race was awesome-- Not only free beer but FREE massages at the end too!!!!