Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Inspiration in Sunriver

I spent a wonderful few days in Sunriver, OR this past weekend at the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival. To say i had a wonderful time would be a gross understatement.

First, after three years of friendship with one heck of a runner, I finally had the opportunity to go running with Patrick Materna. Patrick is know by many as the affable and knowledgeable VP of Sales & Int'l Marketing at The Stick.

We have seen each other at numerous races but usually we are too busy to do much other than chat for a few minutes and then head back to our respective booths. This weekend, however, since I wasn't racing, and the super fast Patrick (a 2:30 marathoner in his prime, just missing the 2:20s by a few seconds) was just coming back from injury, which means I might possibly be able to hang with him, we made time to go for a run. We realized mid-run, that it was this exact weekend three years ago that we had first met and started our friendship. Quite ironic indeed and a perfect time to hit the trails in nearby Sunriver.

Patrick had been here previously and took us over hill and dale to a point overlooking the Deschutes River. After a brief respite we began to head back, passing over a cute footbridge in the process.

It was great to pick Patrick's brain, not only as an experienced fast runner who has dealt with many of the great names in the sport, but also as a business person as well. Patrick thanked me for the run afterward but I told him it was I who should thank him. Manniversaries are so nice. (I just invented a word, I think.)

What is even more nice is to continue to be inspired by those around me. Staying in the same cottage that was provided to me by the wonderful people at the Pacific Crest Festival of Races was the Browder family. I will let Jim Browder, the patriarch of the family, tell the story in his own words, when asked what he was overcoming to finish this marathon:

"With me, Dystonia (a neurological movement disorder) has affected my left leg and foot. in my case, any type of exercise causes it to "kick in" with walking and running the most pronounced problems. Basically, my brain tells my legs to go forward but my body does not respond in the normal way, causing my gait to be awkward and difficult.

Though my Marathon time has gone from under 3:30 to over 6 hours, I set a goal of finishing all 50 States. The marathon in Sunriver will be my 51s marathon (1 in each state)l I am very excited in choosing Sunriver for my final marathon in the quest for my goal and look forward to spending a wonderful weekend in such an incredible place."

Well, not only did I get to hear this story in more detail I got to spend time with Jim and his family, all wonderful people whose southern charm would make anyone smile. I am happy to report that not only did Jim finish this Marathon but he also bested 6 hours, crossing the finish line in 5:56:37. Not bad for a 55 year old man coming from sea level to race at 4400 feet, let alone with a disorder that would make most of us couch potatoes.

As Jim looks onto his next goals (swimming and cycling do not have the same effect on him that running does), I hope we can all take this to heart how even the most major of setbacks can be just that: a setback. Through perseverance and grit, we can achieve more than we can imagine.

Push forward, friends.

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