Thursday, January 13, 2011

A little motivation for tempo

Today I was transitioning from my swim to run in the pool locker room. It was going to be my first "real" tempo run of the season thus far, and my swim hadn't gone so well so I was hoping the run would be better. But to be honest, I was a little discouraged because I didn't feel that great for the effort I was going to have to give. I knew I'd have to dig deep. Thankfully, I ended up getting extra motivation just in the nick of time.

Let me back up a little first. I swim at a pool complex that includes several indoor pools used for swim lessons and swim therapy for people in rehab, people with disabilities, etc. I use the outdoor pool, which isn't used for the things I just mentioned, and it's great because I usually have the whole thing to myself (no one seems to know about this place, which why I'm not posting the name lol).

Anyways, back to today. While I was putting on my run clothes a woman started chatting with me, asking if I had swim and was going running next. I recognized her because she often says to me in passing, "Have a nice swim;" I reply with the same. She is frail and thin, but with a spark in her eyes and a warm, comforting smile on her face. Today was our first real convo. I told her my workout plans and she responded with "That's so great, I used to run marathons until..."

Long story short, this woman, now in her mid-60s, ate bad chicken in 2005, which led her to get autoimmune disease. The disease began in her lungs and spread, simply wreaking havoc on her body. Some of the symptoms she described to me sounded scary as hell -- when she first fell ill, the doctors didn't even know what was wrong! As time went on, the list of issues grew and she was forced to go on tons of medications, forever. The disease took over her body and her life. No longer was she that fit, healthy marathoner.

But as she was today, this woman is clearly not an upset and/or depressed person. She seems at peace, very optimistic and clearly is making the best of a terrible situation. She swims a mile a day at the pool and walks another hour. Her children, all grown, do marathons and even triathlons I think, and she is able to watch and support them. She could have thrown in the towel, but no. She refused to let her situation get the best of her; she's living her life.

Listening to her story as I dressed got to me. I almost started crying. Finally, as she and I parted ways, she wished me luck again. I left the locker room with a new level of motivation. I know I would've worked hard at my run regardless, but after that chat in the locker room, I had a new level of motivation.

I guess the point is: Don't take the little things for granted because you never know. I ran better today thinking about that... yea, tempo run was muy bueno!!! :)

Lastly, I'm not trying to make light of the situation, but another point to make is: Beware of chicken, where it comes from and how it's prepared! Seriously. Even she light-heartedly told me, "Watch out for that chicken!" (Um, is it just me, or does the movie Food Inc. come to mind immediately?!)


  1. Food, Inc. definitely comes to mind.

    On a completely different tone and if you need a laugh, I always enjoyed this video:

  2. Yet another reason why I strongly dislike chicken!

  3. I eat chicken, but I always overcook it. A story like this, while inspiring, freaks me out, too.

    Just found your blog the other day. Hi! As you can see, I'm a sun girl, too. :)

  4. Ya, Chik-fil-A, no thanks. But I can't part with my spicey Pei Wei though... oh the choices in life!

  5. I guess those little Chick-fil-a cows are trying to kill me. I knew they were up to something. ;-)


  6. A great reminder of how lucky we are that we get to train day in and day out. Thanks for the reminder T!! And now I want to become a vegetarian. :-/

  7. Great post!! Truly inspiring that the woman you met perseveres through her disease and continues to do things she loves (even if she cannot run marathons any longer).

    It's so important that we do not take our health for granted!!