Even before he got here, Jay’s segment #2 has been filled with obstacles. Months ago he was mentally shattered with a severe back injury, only to come around and convince me that the Relay was still for him…that he wanted to do it AND that he still could do it.
Upon arrival already the first day of his segment was littered with obstacles. He ran into a military base, he ran around a military base through loose sand, blisters formed that he has never experienced before, he has been reduced to walking most of the distance because of his back, and on top of it all the Google maps image that shows a road we intended to take is all but a sandy unmaintained 35-miles of wilderness; the only other option being to stay on Route 66 and add another marathon distance to his already packed 7 marathons in 7 days.
What had I done wrong? How could I have prevented this or how could I change it? In all of my planning a preparation, how did I not create a Plan B for this type of obstacle? How could I ask Jay, or any of these athletes for that matter, to do more than was expected? What kind of leader was I?
I beat myself up for a good 24-hours about the route before I realized, maybe this wasn’t about me and what I could or could not control. Maybe this was about Jay’s journey. He’s on a mission out here to overcome every obstacle, but much like Chellie, he’s on a journey that is testing who he is. I’m not trying to excuse this route misnomer by any means, but there is a part of me that feels this is a part of what he has to overcome. I’ve offered to make up the distance; he run his marathon in the morning and I make up the distance in the afternoon. Rightfully so this would not take away at all from his segment; this is a Relay and he would still be covering the distance he signed up for. At this time, that notion doesn’t settle with him and he would like to do the entire distance from end-to-end even with the added distance. I think his willingness to do so says a lot about who he is as a runner and a person.
In our time out on the road I have asked him about the timing of his injuries and these obstacles. We can never fully know, but I did ask his thoughts on “Why now?”. Generally life’s difficulties are used as a way to grow us as individuals. I would be more than humbled to have this event have such a profound affect on his life. More importantly though I need to continually understand and remember that I am just a vehicle out here (literally and figuratively). I think this event has the potential to grow a lot of lives, and if that’s the case, I take minimal credit for that. There has been so much of this undertaking that has been completely out of my hands that it would be presumptuous of me to think I have control now.
If nothing else I know I can keep each runner as safe as can be while out on the road with the Relay. If nothing else I know I can be semi-entertaining. Above all though, I think we all need to be prepared for an adventure and potentially some personal growth. And why not? I think that’s something that each of us could use in our life from time to time.
- by ashleyk
- posted at 6:51 PM
- April 24, 2013