Just over six months ago I remember sitting on my couch having a pity party because I was injured, and because of injury, my training wasn’t going as planned. Whether or not I’d even get to race in 2015 came in to question. For someone who set out with big goals, dreams, and lots of determination at the beginning of the year, everything seemed to be crashing down around me. I was quickly losing sight of the many things I still had to be thankful for, the simple things we often take for granted. Luckily, inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.
One day, while surfing the web as I spent time on the couch trying to recover from my injury, I came across a website that definitely put things into perspective for me: Who Do YOU Run For?. I Run 4 (IR4) is an organization that matches runners with “buddies” who can’t run, whether it be for physical or developmental reasons. Runners dedicate their miles, workouts, and races to their buddies. But really, it’s way more than that (I dare you to watch this video and not be inspired):
Here at IR4, we foster relationships. We want to see runners and buddies alike experience the profound power of encouraging and being supported by people who were once perfect strangers. Running can just be about health. Or it can be about dedicating our miles to and creating awareness for our buddies with special needs whose conditions span the spectrum from total physical disability to developmental delays to autism spectrum disorders, as well as a myriad of rare conditions we’re only now learning about thanks to our participation in IR4.
Now, I can’t even begin to explain how I stumbled across this website during my web surfing. What I do know is that things happen for a reason. Without hesitation, I immediately signed up to be matched with a buddy. Although injured at the time, I was reminded that there are people in this world who are faced with much greater challenges. I had nothing to be complaining about.
Fast forward to just two days ago. This past Wednesday, I received word that I had finally been matched with a buddy!! On a most chaotic week, this news brought me much joy. My buddy’s name is Sadie, and she is such a doll.
Sadie is 2 1/2 years old. She suffered a stroke in utero and now has right-sided hemiparesis and speech delays (hemiparesis means that side is weaker and doesn’t work as well). Her smile, though, says it all. If your heart isn’t melted by that sweet face…well, something’s not right! And, although we’ve just been matched, I know we were matched for a reason. If you follow me on Instagram, you know some of my favorite hashtags are: #noexcuses and #pushlimits. Well, here’s my buddy’s version:
I am humbled and honored to dedicate my miles to this awesome and inspiring little girl!!