Running is hard.
It’s also invigorating, refreshing and sometimes you feel so good, it almost feels like flying.
But always, there are moments that test your will, your desire, your determination. Many times you question your sanity.
And that’s why taking those steps into the wind, uphill or just for miles and miles is so much easier with someone else in mind.
It is the team aspect that makes the Ragnar Relays unique. Running is a solitary endeavor. The decision to stop is yours. No referee can steal your perfect run. Only your own mind can cheat you.
So when I run I like to do it for someone else. I ran the Wasatch Back the first year the race existed, and I had never run more than a 5K at the time. It changed the way I viewed running, myself and other people. Running in the rain, alone at night, I struggled with quitting for the first time. I couldn’t bring myself to give up, however, because of my abnormally upbeat teammates cheering me on. I couldn’t let them down.
Every year since, and in most races, I run with someone else in my heart.
This year, our entire team – Dude, Where’s My Van? – will run for a man named Beaux. None of us know him very well, but we work with his wife – Lois. What I did know of him was the usual stories colleagues offer about the men who support them, the children that make them smile. I also was recently introduced to his talent for photography. He has a website where he posts his pictures, which are, pure and simply amazing. He has a unique and beautiful perspective on life that manifests itself in his art. (http://reflectivelens.blogspot.com)
Beaux , 49, is the father of two gorgeous girls. He was told two years ago that he’d need a new liver. After a horrific bicycle accident as a child that required more than a dozen blood transfusions, he developed Hepatitis C. He didn’t know it until constant stomach aches sent him to the doctors.
Lois recently told us he’d been moved up the transplant list – a moment that gives a family hope and brings home the gravity of the diagnosis.
I was nervous about asking Lois if this group of very marginal athletes could run in her husband’s honor and in hopes of raising awareness about organ donation. I mean, if you get the chance to be represented, you want it to be the person who wins. You want to have your name on Lance Armstrong’s shirt, not Amy “the queen of shuffling” Donaldson’s race bib.
He didn’t just say yes. He was as honored to have us represent him as we are to run in his name.
He wrote a beautiful blog about our offer and his feelings, which I hope you visit.
Blog: The Paradox Syndrome
Post: Ragnar Relay’s Wasatch Back
And then I hope you take some time to consider organ donation. I know of another friend whose husband is waiting for kidneys. If you have the opportunity to offer life to a stranger, please take it. It is one last gesture of love that we can offer as members of the only team that really counts.
Running is hard.