There are many others in the running community I admire for their sportsmanship, accomplishments, drive, willingness to give back to other runners, and for their general attitude of no runner left behind.
But for me the true heroes of running are those that support the average runner. The ones that support and encourage those of us who are up at 5am to run. Those who sacrifice weekends for races. Who rub sore legs and deformed feet. Who listen to hours of running chatter, stats, the newest research. Those that tolerate the bedroom that looks like a running store threw up, with piles of gadgets, shoes, clothes and gear.
The mom who encourages you and makes a point to come out for an early morning local race.
The friends, even those far away, who call, fb and message words of support, encouragement and love about your running and races.
The aunt who pays attention to the things you talk about in running and asks for her own flattie of you to carry around to show support of you during races.
The kids who lovingly call you a beast and talk about how you're not normal but that you look happy, fit and healthy.
For me, my husband,
My Musician, is my biggest hero.
He runs with me at times to encourage me, to help me through tough workouts, especially at the track, to keep me motivated. When I don't feel like running, he'll lace up his shoes and head out the door knowing I can't help myself but follow him. He does the same thing with strength workouts. No matter how bad I might want to go eat a gallon of ice cream, I give in, slide on my Vibrams and do the workout with him. One of these days I'll growl at him and give in to the Blerch, but that day has yet to come.
He spends hours a week rubbing my feet, working knots out of my calves and thighs, rubbing the tension out of my shoulders.
He makes sure I'm eating the proper energy giving foods, especially pre long run or race, well, except for candy corn. That nasty addiction is all his doing!
But the thing he does that truly impresses me is giving up his Saturdays. He is always there to help get me through my long runs and to make sure I'm ok on the tough ones.
Last week's long run was a tough one. I was scheduled 20 miles. My coach has a couple of them in my training plan for me, thankfully. I need that and I think it's more of a mental thing for me to know I can run at least that far as I head to Philly.
It was a cold and rainy day. I thought I'd dressed properly but the rain soaked through my jacket and all my layers within a mile a or two.
I learned some lessons on this run about what to wear in a cold, drenching rain. I also played with some fueling options. I'm trying to get away from gels and use just whole foods. I got a recipe for chia seed pancakes from a friend that is just amazing and worked wonders!
As usual, I digress, I was doing ok for the majority of this run. I felt strong and knew I could do the 20 miles without to much difficulty. My Musician dropped me off about 22 miles from home.
By the time I hit mile 7, he was there, checking on me. He stayed a few miles ahead of me the rest of the run. It didn't matter that I told him I was ok. He could see how the cold rain was chilling me and he was staying close to keep an eye on me.
At one point he even brought me a hot coffee to try to help me get warm. That's interesting to run with hot coffee but it was wonderful to have! Makes me really hope someone on the marathon course will be handing out coffee or cocoa!
By mile 12 I started to shiver and mile 14.5 I was fighting tears. I've done a lot of winter running and I knew that I was done. I knew that at this point I was not going to get warm again. My Musician was waiting for me at mile 15.5 and I called it a day.
He gave up 3 hours of his Saturday to follow me through 6 towns and 15. 5 miles, just to support and encourage me.
I know there are many who support me and my running passion but My Musician gives up so much of his time for my running and rarely complains about it. I love this man deeply. He's my best friend and I love doing everything with him. I love that he's come in "my" world of running to run with me, to support me and work side by side with me. I would not enjoy running the way I do without his support.