Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Bit of Inspiration, Pt II

So Where's Kenny?
This was the point I started to get concerned. "I'm going to go find Kenny," I told his parents as they nodded and smiled. I hopped on my bike and was off. Luckily, it wasn't long before I found him. Just off the paved road I met Kenny atop the last hill on the dirt trail, just as he was walking his bike up the last part. "KENNY! I thought you were dead."

(Kenny's not dead! They didn't kill Kenny!)
Kenny's Not Dead
Kenny was not dead. But Kenny had taken a spill down the hill for some extra thrill. (Maybe too many Dr. Seuss books with the kids starting to make itself known on that last sentence.) "Kenny, you okay, what happened?"

"I couldn't brake and lost control of the bike." (Something along those lines anyways.) Kenny had done fine on his ride up the mountain. But on his way down the handle bars turned the brakes straight up, making them too difficult to reach, which left Kenny subject to the will of the mountain. Going fast down the steepest section of the ride, until his front tire found that one "catchy" spot that had him flying up over the handle bars and stumbling to a halt. Chalk one up to the "glad I had a helmet on" club as Kenny was able to brush the dust off him, rinse off the bloodied scrape on the inside of his elbow. (Side note - In him telling me this, I suddenly felt much better that he had the water bottle I had given him to take on the ride. It did come in handy. Great forethought on my part.) Anyways, with his shirt dirtied, and a little bumped up he was making his way back on the trail.

After a quick once over of his bike, I told him he should take my bike and finish strong. To which, he did. I hopped on his bike and tried to keep pace. It wasn't until after we got back that I realized his rear brakes were somewhat engaged the entire time I was riding and probably were for at least the portion of his ride after his wreck.

Kevin was a Runnin'
Seeing him coming in from the ride, both his parents were happy to see Kenny was in good spirits, and even more important, he was in one piece. But Kevin, Kenny's dad, couldn't say much as he had a race to run. With his earphones put in, and Kenny back, Kevin was off to the races. 

To give some perspective here, Kevin was starting in last place, a ways behind anyone else. Not only that, Kevin was probably the second oldest guy in the race. In fact, the only guy that was older, shouldn't even count. I had seen this guy before the race, and I recognized him from last year. He showed up, not saying much to anyone, and had the face of, "I'm ready to kill this triathlon." This is fine, and I am all for it. It did look, however, a little of out place considering this was more of a just for fun sort of event, with most people just coming out to try and remember when they had any semblance of the agility and endurance they had in their youth. So, besides the guy the guy that looked like this was the sort of thing in his sleep, Kevin was the oldest.

I will admit that as Kevin was doing the run my mind turned to food, and I lost track of time. I think they may have even given out the awards as he was still out there running. Needless to say, I didn't see Kevin when he finished. The funny thing he would tell, was that no one really see when he finished. See, the run was an out and back sort of a run. Before Kevin made it to the turn around marker he had seen the last of any other runners. In fact, when he was around where the turn around point was, the volunteers taking numbers and telling people to turn around had already packed up and left. Kevin ended up asking people around where he figured it must have been if that was the point that others turned around. Luckily, other people in the parking lot had been there earlier had seen others running before and were able to help him out. But, though feeling a bit forgotten only half way into the run Kevin continued on. He continued on to find that this would be a consistent feeling at the finish line as well. No volunteers were there. Luckily, a passerby, seeing Kevin coming up to the line, knew at least enough to where a stop watch was that was still running so he could record his time.

 The Takeaway
There is so much that I enjoy about seeing Kevin and Kenny coming out to race. I'm not sure I will capture all of it, but here are two things that came to mind as I admired their efforts.

1) They weren't worried about other people. They understood that they were out there to race against themselves. Sure, Kenny was able to feel confident in his abilities as he was keeping up with everyone until he took a spill on his bike. But even when he did take the dive, he kept a positive attitude and kept going. He hadn't sen the course before and was excited to finish what he started. Kevin was the same way. I may have been tempted to pack it in by the time Kenny finished his ride, seeing how far ahead everyone else was (which included a good portion of the teams that were already done). He simply put on his headphones and started running. The great part was, even though he could see others may have forgotten about him and left their stations (i.e. the turnaround point), Kevin actually had his fastest run for a 5K. In fact, the race is a bit further than a 5K, so he must have been even faster than what he had been comparing his time to.

2)  They remained positive and were excited for what each other were doing. I am sure this can be found amongst most members of any team, constantly pushing each other, and showing excitement when the other person finished his part of the race. But I am sure this was even more real, and lasting, as it was a father and son routing each other on.

I won't get too gushy and sentimental here, so I will suffice to say that you could see that they were there for the right reasons. The reasons most of us that show up and do these sorts of things. We know we are there to compete against ourselves, and really enjoy the journey of preparing for something and being able to say you stuck with it to the end.

(Kenny, Kevin, Casey, Daniel, Steve, myself)

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