I don't know what the official mission statement of NYRR is. But, over the past few days I've given it some thought. They are an organization that provides the means for people to improve themselves. They don't care where you come from in terms of physical ability (or race, or national origin, or religion or lack of, or sexual orientation/gender identity, or (kinda) how much money you have) and they help you get better and they create the goals so you can see your improvement. Wouldn't it be great if other organizations would be like that? Wouldn't it be great if our country was like that?
Okay, for me this is getting even weirder, because they asked me to provide some pictures so they can's show some sort of slideshow about me as they give me my award. They wanted pictures of me running or interacting with my teammates from the Prospect Park Track Club or with my family. I scrolled through my Facebook photos and sent them a handful of pictures.
|I was, am, and will always |
be this person.
But now that it's a couple of days after the deadline to send in the pictures I realized which one I should've sent them. I should've sent them the photo to the right... It was taken about an hour after I finished the 2000 New York City Marathon. It was my slowest marathon to that date because I barely trained since my twins would just six months old. I had broke $ earlier that year but for this race I just wanted to break 5. My official time was 4:59:56. I'm also in the school cafeteria rented by the Prospect Park Track Club for our post marathon activities. As you can see, I'm holding my babies, but what you can see is that I'm looking at my wife.
After I finished my first marathon in about 4:11, all I wanted to do was break 4 hours. It took me seven years to do it but I did it just before my kids were born. Then I wanted to be the guy who could just run a couple marathons a year without getting hurt. I wanted to be that guy for my kids. Then I got really really sick and all I want to be is the guy can show his kids what kind of hole their dad can climb out of. I wanted to inspire them. It never occurred to me that anyone else would notice. It blows my mind that people giving the awards for being inspirational
This was the one photo that I kept at my bedside in the hospital. When I needed a place to park my mind this is where I put it.
And another thing, that might be different but is really the same. When I first got involved with Achilles International I couldn't get myself out of my wheelchair. I remember how much of a big deal it was when I stood up on my own from the wheelchair. Yesterday, without much fuss I offered my shoulder to a visually impaired athlete. We then walked a few blocks together. Until recently, I didn't have enough confidence in my walking ability to do that
So, I just realized that my goals are often past the finish line. In the 2000 New York City Marathon I didn't just want to finish under five hours. I wanted to finish under 5 and then have the strength to hold both my kids. At the Brooklyn Half Marathon last year, I wasn't just thinking of finishing. I was mostly focused on that bench a few feet after the finish line. Now, I'm thinking past finishing the New York City Marathon in 2018 as an Achilles Athlete. I'm thinking that maybe in 2020 I can finish the New York City Marathon as an Achilles Guide.