Today is a happy memory in the inspirational category for me. Even though I'm late today because I had to give a class last night I have great memories of these two honorees today. I decided to put them together because although they have inspired me in many ways since I first met them, that one Saturday in February was the greatest inspiration and they both got me through that day - without Renee especially I would NOT have been able to complete my 50 miler.
I first met Greg and Renee probably at Thanksgiving but I met so many people then that I'm not sure who I met then and who I met over the Christmas races. They have both been so amazingly friendly that I have been grateful to them every time and no matter how many marathons in a row they had done, they were always smiling and encouraging me on.
Then came Rocky Racoon 100 miler and Greg completed that - anyone who completes a 100 miler is a hero in m y book and not only did he do it but Renee crewed/paced him. She ran at least 40 miles with him and guided him when he couldn't think any more (and didn't want to think). So, together they got Greg to the finish line! Completion of a 100 mile run is something I think should be tatooed on a person's forehead as a badge of honor forever. But that's just my opinion. I now know alot of folks who've completed 100 milers (and achieved many other accomplishments) that I feel so fortunate to know all these strong people - strong physically but more importantly they are strong in their character and emotional/spiritual demeanor too.
Well, the week after Rocky Racoon was the 50 miler. Remember how scared I was. I had posted about it on Facebook and Renee sent me a message that touched me even though I didn't totally understand what it meant until the day of the event. She said she'd asked if she could start late (she was doing a 50 K after having run 40 plus miles with Greg less than 7 days before) so she could be out there with me. Well, this was a loop race so I thought that was very nice of her to want to see me although I didn't quite understand what starting late had to do with that (I'm a novice about alot of these things so I was sure there was something I was missing..LOL).
Saturday came and I did the first loop (in the dark) with the whole gang. Then a couple of more loops went by and by about mile 20 I was convinced there was no way I was going to be able to complete the 50 miles. Then I saw Renee as we were passing near the start/finish line. She said she'd been looking for me and she'd see me in a bit. I was still clueless but, of course, happy to see a friendly face. Next thing I knew she was near me and was pacing me. That's what she had meant. She was actually going to run with me. That had never happened to me before and I didn't know how to react (I've always been such a loner because I'm so slow). I was happy but worried that she'd be bored (etc) trying to slow down for me. But I have to tell you that those 5 miles she worked with me and helped me, giving me a hand down "My Nemesis" and asking me how I was going to prepare for the various aid stations and just talking to me was a life saver. I got my enthusiasm back and felt that I had energy again. I actually thought maybe I could do it. She was phenomenal and so understanding. She was so helpful that I should give my medal to her (but I'm so proud of it I'm not going to and I hope she understands) because I would not have finished without her. Then, on top of that she had to finish her own 50 k and do it before dark because she didn't have a headlamp. I knew she was concerned about that and encouraged her to go on alone. She was torn but I wanted her to make good time.
When we started the second lap, Mr. 100 miler joined us - I was simply amazed that he could even walk to say nothing of run but he came along with us. Then we were able to get Renee to go along and do her own race so she could finish (I was indebted to her the whole time after that). I encouraged Greg to go too because I sure didn't want to hold back a "guy" - one that could do a 100 miler and be out running the next day. But he stuck with me. I was so surprised and honored that he cared enough about me to want to help me get through this milestone. He was so kind and caring and gentle. He was telling me some about his experience and I was enthralled with all he told me about Rocky Racoon. But he got me through another 5 miles and thanks to these two great, giving people I was able to get to the point where Parvaneh took over for the last 20 miles. I would still be looking for my 50 miler medal if it weren't for these two fabulous people.
They don't know me yet they went out of their way just 7 days after experiencing pain and exhaustion to help me reach a goal that they could tell was so important to me.
How special and unusual is that? I don't know how to thank them enough but certainly hope that I get the opportunity to some day
Thank you Greg and Renee! I appreciate your friendship and your help so very much!