Motivate the next generation: join SoleMates for Girls on the Run
Driving home from the race, I had the feeling that the rush from finishing a marathon just wasn't enough. That's when my thoughts turned to Ironman. I had just run 26.2 miles after 12 years away from the sport and training for just three months. I guess for me, my philosophy is go big or go home. I hadn't been swimming since I was a kid, and outside of some recreational bike rides with my kids, there was no background in biking. What in the world was I thinking? I started working out twice a day and in late January, I registered for Ironman Louisville 2011.
This spring I had the wonderful opportunity to run in the GOTR 5k as a running buddy for one of the girls in the program. When I walked away that morning, I felt like I probably had gotten more out of that run that the 3rd grade girl I was running with. She was one of the girls who without financial help would not have been able to participate in GOTR. I was able to see firsthand the money I had raised at work and the influence this great program had on this young girl. I thoroughly enjoyed jogging those 3.1 miles with her and the conversation we shared. But for me, there was nothing better than being beside her as she approached the finish with her mom and sisters holding signs and cheering her on. It is a memory that I will have forever.
That morning confirmed that my decision to do Ironman was the right one for me. I’m a single dad of two boys who watch every move I make, and they encouraged me more than anyone to do Ironman. I don't have a lot of money, so the training was a burden on me and my kids but they, along with what I learned from being a SoleMate, kept me going. I trained on a mountain bike due to the cost of purchasing a triathlon bike. I ended up being able to borrow a friend’s road bike that was a little small, but something I was able to make work. I kept my sights set on my goal and my kids’ excitement in my mind as I continued to put in the training hours. In the end, the only thing that mattered to me is that my kids saw that I had given everything I had to reach this goal, regardless of what obstacles stood in the way. Seeing my kids’ faces when I crossed that finish line and knowing that they got to see their dad do something many deem impossible was worth everything. On August 28, 2011, with my boys there watching, I became an Ironman. They will be able to remember that day and know, if my dad did it, I can do it.
SoleMates has given me the opportunity to rejuvenate a love I once had. I completed my second marathon this year and fifth overall on Sunday, October 9 when I ran the Chicago Marathon once again. I have become an Ironman, but the road does not stop there. I am already looking forward to competing in two more Ironmans next year as well as 3-4 marathons. My goals are no longer to just finish, they are now to see how fast I can finish. Without GOTR and SoleMates, these goals wouldn’t exist for me.
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