Monday, September 28, 2015

Inspire Me Monday-IronDAD Chattanooga 9-27-15

Today I am inspired by the Ironman competition that took place in Chattanooga yesterday. I will be competing in my first Ironman competition this May. I will be a part of a relay team in the Half-ironman later this year. I will be doing the running portion of the race. The half ironman consists of a    1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run. The full ironman is a feat taken on by a small group of individuals, and accomplished by even fewer. It starts with a 2.4 mile swim , followed by a 112 mile bike race, and finishing with a full marathon of 26.2 miles. And it is all completed by one individual at one time. It is the ultimate test of brawn, determination, endurance, athleticism, and heart. And one man, one dad, showed even more heart than anyone else who went on this 140+ mile adventure. He went that whole great distance carrying a person with him...

Chattanooga is a haven for runners.  I knew that the first time I made an official recruiting visit to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  I was being recruited to run track and cross-country as a Chattanooga Running Moc.  It didn't take long to realize that my running shoes would love it here.  Since the start of my freshmen year of college, I put in many miles of running around this city that became a second home to me.  

Alongside my teammates, I ran long runs up and down the hills of Chattanooga, the Baker Street loop over by GPS, hill repeats back behind the golf course, the duck pond loop twisting around the north side of the city, runs out toward East Chattanooga by the car dealerships and the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, runs past the resturaunts downtown, long runs breezing by Finley Staduim and cooling down behind the Tennessee Aquarium, out-and-backs on the Riverwalk, sprints inside McKenzie Arena when the roads were too icy, speed workouts on the blue track at GPS and taking a bathroom and water break in Coolidge Park, the bridges loop if we were just wanting to get a quick morning run in before class on days without pool workouts, runs through the woods at Greenway Park followed by some hill repeats...

And last but not least a good-ole-go-to-run when we were wanting to mix things out and back run to Moccasin Bend.
It was one of those routes we didn't take very often on long runs.  Days that we ran it were the mornings that we sat in our dorm room lacing up our shoes trying to decide where we wanted to run that day.  One of us would say, "I'm getting tired of duck pond and Baker's loop.  I don't feel like driving somewhere to run.  What about running to Moc Bend today?  It's not too hilly."  And off we went.  We would head out of our Johnson Village dorm room and take a left.  We would cross over either Veteran's Bridge, Walnut Street Bridge (aka walking bridge), or the Market Street Bridge, depending on how we were feeling that day.  Once on the north side of the river we would hang a left onto Manufacturer's Road to run past Greenlife and the liquor store, then another left onto Hamm Road.  At some point during the run someone would comment on how bad it smells over by the water treatment plant when it gets hot.  We would tend to pick up to a pretty swift pace as we took off toward Moccasin Bend.  The road was nice and flat and straight as a starting line.  You could see your point of destination.  The spot where you turn around to head home.  That's what was nice about this run.  It's not very often that the end is in sight.  The turnaround point for that run was like the straightaway at the end of a track race.  There aren't many flat spots to run around the city besides the track, but this was one of them.  I honestly remember the feeling I would get on that straightaway leading into the scenic Moccasin Bend property-that feeling that you had more energy left in the tank than you thought you did.  That, "heck, why not speed it up a bit, here?"  It was an opportunity to remind yourself how fast you were, that even in the middle of a long run you still had it in you to let loose a bit and burn some rubber on those shoes.  You start to feel like all of your worries and stresses don't exist anymore.  We would, for a short time, forget about the essays due and looming deadlines and teammate drama.  We would just run.  Fast.  And running fast is a great feeling.

I am sure that is the feeling Cameron Bean felt on his final run last Monday.

Cameron had spent the last year training his father, Steve Bean, to run the Ironman with him. Instead Steve ran it FOR Cameron while Cameron cheered him on from above. 

(Click above to see his heroic finish.)

They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint. 
Isaiah 40:31

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