As a runner, who motivates you? Do you examine the race results of the elite runners and push yourself to run faster? During a race, is it the unknown runner who is 10 yards ahead of you? Is your motivation internal…to get a PR? Does your motivation change?
For me, it changes. My motivation for my first half-marathon was to finish. My motivation for the second was to be faster. My running partner, my sister who is seven years younger, is my motivation. I have to keep up with her; I can’t let my older age slow me down. My two boys are my motivation; I want to be a healthy mom and be able to keep up with them! My current motivation is my three- year old son.
The day that my son was diagnosed with NF1, my husband and I got home and immediately put on our running clothes. We put C in the jogging stroller and ran. We ran to process, to cry, to talk, to pray. But we ran. When we reached the top of our street, C wanted out of the stroller to run to our house. My husband and I gave him our running advice, “Pick up your feet,” then he was off. He was laughing and running and suddenly fell forward. He caught himself, but his knees were skinned. After applying Mickey Mouse band-aids to his knees, he was ready to go out and run again. He amazed me.
Yesterday, we went to the park so my oldest son could practice riding his bike and C could ride his tricycle. He opted to run. I asked him if he wanted to hold my hand (this was more for my fear of him falling) and he refused. “No mommy. I’m going to beat you.” And he was off. He ran and ran. He laughed and raced.
I sat back and watched him with wonder. He was getting so much joy from something that was hard for him. He is inhibited by the lack of coordination and straight leg running. And I questioned my own joy in running. Lately, I have been making excuse after excuse about why I can’t go running. Here is this three-year old, who could have a multitude of excuses for not wanting to run, and yet, there he was laughing and enjoying every lap around the track. It was at that moment that I found my newest motivation.
Today, Sunday, I should have been at church. C is schedule for an MRI this week to check for tumors in his brain and his eyes. I should have been at church praying for my baby, but instead I ran. And I prayed. I thought about C’s innocence, his smile that lights up a room, his sense of humor and his persistence. The last mile of my run, takes me up a hill on Big Bend Road. I stood at the bottom of the hill and cried. At first, I thought it was because of the hill, but no, it was for my son.
My new mantra filled my mind, “Pick up your feet.” After all, if that works for a three- year old, shouldn’t that work for me? I picked up my feet and ran. I thought about my constant offer to hold his hand when he ran and wondered who was there to hold mine. God is there- to give me the strength, courage, and persistence I need.
My next race is in two weeks. Am I ready? I guess we’ll see. What I do know, is that I will be thinking of my fun-loving three-year old and thinking to myself, “All you have to do is pick up your feet."
To read more posts by Trisha, check out her profile on our Contributors page.
If you want to support Trisha and her reason to run, please visit the links below. We think the "Be Brave" bravelets are particularly awesome!
The NF Center at Washington University, in St. Louis, is one of the leading research and treatment centers fighting NF in the nation. Read more about NF and their amazing work here.
The Washington University NF Center has an amazing "Giving" page. This is where you can access the "Be Brave" jewelry store where $10 for each item purchased goes to fighting NF. You can also make regular donations or find out about their Schnucks eScrip program.
NF Midwest is a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of children, adults, and families impacted by neurofibromatosis in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and the eastern half of Missouri. Visit their website for more information about NF and the work they do to support NF families.
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