Saturday, January 20, 2007

Smile, run, smile...


I've been inspired recently.

Oddly enough, the source of my inspiration was not from a Lance Armstrong-like performance in the New York City Marathon; in fact, it wasn't drawn from an athletic feat at all. I've been inspired by the 14 other members of our newly established Running Club, most of whom are brand new to running.

What inspires me about these people is their drive and enthusiasm to better themselves. In the short time that our group as been training, we've gone out in some pretty unfavourable weather conditions - high winds, heavy rain, extreme cold, and not once has a member of the group complained about what it is we're doing. Instead, on days we are scheduled to run, I always find the group assembled by our front door, dressed and ready with smiles as big as our building, for the next training session.

Running is as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one and this group has conquered the mental side - the physical side will take care of itself in the weeks ahead.

I hope the group members can see the strides they've made thus far. These people have proven they never, ever give up. What do you do?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

A dozen reasons why I run...


A neat thing happened a few days ago. A co-worker approached me and asked if we could run together in the new year, turns out he's quite interested in losing a few pounds, improving his fitness level, and becoming a runner. I responded to him by suggesting that we put out an invitation to all of our co-workers to join a new lunchtime Running Club, targeted at beginners - he agreed.

That afternoon, I sent an email notice around the office about the new Running Club and an upcoming information session that I would be holding a couple of days later. My email was very blunt and pointed out that you can't lose weight, get in shape, and keep your hand on the remote control all at the same time. I also shot down, with scientific research, the notion that running is bad for the joints and leads to arthritis. My email explained to my co-workers that the best part of any run is stopping, but they wouldn't be able to experience this incredible feeling if they didn't first start running. I invited them to come along with their "trick knees" and their "runner's asthma" and hear about the new Running Club and how it could change their lives.

There wasn't much talk around the office over the next couple of days. Had I offended people? Was I too up front? Did I scare them away? I figured, based on the apparent interest level, or lack thereof, there wouldn't be any new members joining our newly established two-member club.

When the meeting time rolled around, I was pleasantly surprised (read "shocked") when I walked into our boardroom to find twelve people (about half of our office staff) sitting around the table, eager to hear about the club and even more excited about starting their own running careers. The group asked the questions that I would have asked if I were first starting out and they had the same concerns that I had too, just a couple of years ago. I assured them that this was a beginner's club and we would start out by walking, but would be running 5-K by April. I adjourned the meeting by announcing January 2nd, 2007 as our first training session.As I walked out of the meeting, I realized that these twelve people represent twelve good reasons why I run, and it may take a fellow runner to understand what I mean.

Live your life to inspire others.