Sunday, June 3, 2012

Stories that Inspire: The "Erin-Half"

We all have giants in our lives. Mountains that loom over us. Choices placed before us.
We can choose to battle these giants, or to scale these mountains. We can also choose to turn around and leave, and to live permanently in the shadows they cast.

Erin, by her own admission, was never a runner. In fact, she had several key people in her lifetime tell her she lacked the focus, and that she couldn't possibly finish a significant race.

Anyone can run, apparently, but if an athlete lacks the stamina, and mental toughness, they'll never be a true runner. That's just how important the mind is in the sport of running.

Both a coach, and an ex-boyfriend maintained that Erin lacked this characteristic, and thus couldn't, and wouldn't, ever be a successful runner.

After a tumultuous pregnancy, Erin began to find an escape in running. After a while, words from the past began to tug at her.

"You couldn't run a half marathon."

Why not?

"You lack the focus."
"Running is about endurance."
"You wouldn't make it through, especially not after this last pregnancy..."

Erin was at the end of the path. In front of her loomed a mountain, and now it was time to choose. Looking up, defiantly, at the mountain she simply said: "You're wrong, and I'm going to prove it."

Looking into registration costs, Erin realized that many of the local half marathons would be too expensive. With a family of three young ones to think about, registering for a run may not have been the most fiscally prudent move. Instead, she decided to do her own half marathon.

In February 2012, with the support of her women's group at church, she began to train for her very own half-marathon.

Four months later, on June 2nd, the Erin-Half began. It was comprised of fourteen miles, and toured many of the emotionally significant landmarks from Erin's past year of discovering her passion for running, the pregnancy, and the aftermath.

I must admit, watching her breeze through the fourteen mile endeavor was one of the single most inspiring things I've ever had the privilege to witness.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a reason they do the things they do. We all love stories that tell of a courageous few who face down their giants, and scale their mountains. Why?

I believe that these are the stories that cause us to regain faith in ourselves.
These are stories that give us courage to fight the battles placed in front of us, on a daily basis.
They're stories that embolden us to stand out, and to dance to our own song.

The Erin-Half is a story of overcoming. Of proving those who would doubt wrong.

It's a story of courage. It's a story of strength. But mainly, it's a story that, ultimately, pushes spectators, such as you and I, toward greater things...

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