One of the best things about running and social networking is that your success can easily influence others. I can't tell you how many times over the past three/four years I've received messages from friends - some who were nearly off my radar and some I considered very close - telling me that my posts had inspired them to take up running themselves.
Now I see these people completing 5ks and half marathons and feel a wonderful sense of pride for them. I know what it is to succeed at such an accomplishment, to beat a PR or conquer a goal you never thought you'd meet. I am their biggest cheerleader.
And one of the most wonderful things about all of this isn't that I can take any sort of credit for their success (I can't, and would never attempt to); it's that their success then becomes inspiration for me.
These past two weeks have been brutal. The weather has been despicable, and the final two weeks of school are always stressful and busy. I was at school until 6:30pm Monday, 11pm Tuesday, and after 5:00 Wednesday through Friday. I put running aside to get my priorities straight and in order to get enough sleep. I wasn't really bothered by this; I knew I had to and I felt okay about it.
Then, this past weekend, a friend of mine ran her first Half (and kicked butt!), and another friend (who is rather new to running) messaged me for some advice and completed her second 5k with outstanding results compared to her first. These successes were the gentle urging that I needed to go out for a couple casual runs this week.
No hardcore training, no PRs, no long distances. Just casual, nice, stress-relieving runs for the purpose of being alone and clearing my head. I'm happier with two short runs this week than I was with the four long runs I completed three weeks ago, because my head was in the right space. My body didn't feel overtired; it felt strong. I felt strong.
Inspiration among runners is cyclical, and it comes from all kinds of runners. I love the tribe runners make up, where we cheer each other on and truly understand the pain, dedication, and exhilaration of it all like no one on the outside really can. I love that someone completing their first full mile without a walk-break can inspire just as much as someone completing a 15 miler in two hours. I especially love that people I know I've inspired are now repaying the favor and inspiring me.
Keep it up, everyone. This is a wonderful system we have going! You are all amazing!
PS: Just a note to add that my late-night run tonight was the first pain-free run I've had in over two years. I wore a different brace to target my IT band, and it worked like a charm. I can't WAIT for what this will mean for me in the long run! (No pun intended haha!)