I've never won the lottery, come home with a Porsche from a mall giveaway, or even managed to avoid sidelining injuries in my running career. But LUCKY is really the only way to describe my situation. LUCKY, in so many respects. And while I'll admit to being bit superstitious with odd things like deoderant and chapstick, these rituals are ultimately inconsequential to my good fortune.
Ok, bear with me for a moment while my emotional Irish heritage commandeers this blog. Grab some macaroni if you must, but the following is genuine, even if it sounds a little cheesy.
In one of my last heavy training weeks, I managed three great 10+ mile weekday runs (unusual for me), which offered quality reflection time. Somewhere along the trails, as I acknowledged the blessings in my life, I discovered that I was most grateful for the sources of inspiration that surround me, begining with my tirelessly supportive family. My mom, making her physical, emotional, and spiritual comeback from breast cancer. My dad, on his own journey to rediscover the fitness of his youth (in preparation for the first annual "Stapanowich Show-down" with his brother at the Lake Logan Triathlon). And last but not least my brother, who is hearing impaired, with his ever growing list of challenges conquered.
Sources of inspiration are also found at my amazing job and the interactions experienced during the work week. A fire inside ignites for the kids who remind me of the importance of laughter and that almost anything is possible. That fire is further fueled and kindled by the devoted parents who epitomize unconditional love. And finally, throwing the proverbial lighter fluid on the fire, are my coworkers. Who, faced with their own personal struggles, don't just show up, but who are wholeheartedly invested in maximizing the function and independence of their patients.
While musing and cruising the GARDEN OF THE GODS trails, I stumbled upon the most ostensibly obvious conclusion yet. That my gratefulness extended outside these wonderful relationships to my physical surroundings. To the place we call home. COLORADO. Not too long ago I got to play tour guide to an old high school buddy who flew in from Oregon. While I've only been living here a year, its amazing how one can take for granted something seen everyday, even if it is "America's Mountain" (PIKES PEAK) or a place Rufus Cable dubbed "fit for the gods to assemble" (GARDEN OF THE GODS). With my sherpa hat on, I led my buddy around the area trails, and found that I was looking at things from a fresh perspective again. I once again captured the elusive curiosity and wonder that had somehow escaped me over the course of the year.
Now, as my training reaches its peak, I aim to hold on to the "eyes of a child" wonderment right up until I toe the line at the GARDEN OF THE GODS 10 MILER on June 12th. There in the place "fit for the gods to assemble," and surrounded by over a thousand runners with their own stories of struggle and triumph, will be the pinnacle of inspiration.