running inspiration

I'm just over a week away from my first race of 2012. I took a bit of a break after running the Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon. I don't know what it was, but something made me stop running after that. I sort of got disappointed about my finish time and felt kind of like a failure. I finished well behind my projected finish line. I was discouraged.

But then this year I wanted to start fresh. So I signed up for a bunch of races. I started officially training for my first half marathon a few weeks ago. And now my first race, the B.A.A. 5K, is next Sunday. I'm a little nervous, as with all races. I want to be good at running. I want to run fast.

I've been looking around trying to find inspiring running stories to get me amped up for this year and training. And I stumbled upon Team Hoyt.

I've always known about Team Hoyt; you can't really be from Boston, watch the Boston Marathon each year and not know them. Father and son. Running races together. Son Rick has cerebral palsy and is a spastic quadriplegic. Doctors told the Hoyts Rick would be nothing but a vegetable. But they persisted and tried to make a better life for their son. A team of engineers at Tufts built a special machine to help Rick speak. His intelligence knows no bounds.

One day he asked his dad, Dick, to run a race with him. So he did. He pushed his son and ran a race, and they've been running races together ever since. I just finished their book "Devoted: The Story of a Father's Love for His Son" and it's left me inspired. Inspired to run further, to push myself harder and to be a better person. It's hard to race as an able-bodied person, but to push along another person the entire way is something to applaud. They've run over 1,000 races together, including multiple Ironman Triathalons. And Dick refuses to run a single race without Rick. Dick is 71, Rick is 50. They are the most dedicated and loving people I have ever heard of.

I highly recommend reading their book, especially if you're looking for something to...well...believe in. I don't think it's limited to just runners, but to people as a whole. And if that whole description didn't leave you a bit weepy, here's their Ironman Triathalon video, "Redeemer." Take the 5 minutes to watch this. It's what I think about when my legs are aching on that last mile of a Saturday long run and I feel like I just can't do it anymore. If they can do it, I can do it. And so can you.
I'm confident I will run the Boston Marathon in 2013 now. I don't think there's anything I want more right now than to do that. And I hope that I will have the chance to run side by side with Dick and Rick. Who knows? Maybe I can run for Team Hoyt next year. You never know...

Happy weekend everyone!


  1. This is a really great and moving post. My cousin's husband is running the Boston marathon this year in honor of his sister who died a little over a year ago from cerebral palsy. He made shirts in honor of her for his fundraising and anytime I wear mine when I run and I think about her, that's when I run my fastest and push myself the hardest.
    You are gonna do great and your 5k is gonna blow mine out of the water, since I can't even complete 2 miles without stopping at least 3times! :-x you are an inspiration!

  2. Before he got big Hoyt had been approached by a lot of people to go pro in ultra's. The gist of these conversations went

    Corporate type: "We want to sponsor you to run professionally. We think you could contend in world class fields if you weren't pushing your son around."
    Hoyt: "Why the f' would I want to do that?"

  3. You continue to blow my mind. I'm doing a 5K next weekend but I'll be one of those people walking. Because I am so out of running shape it's not even funny. I'd like to blame it on my asthma but someday I really want to be able to RUN!

    You're totally going to do it. All these races are so good for you and I love that you're challenging yourself!

  4. Good for you Alex!! Stay encouraged. Just the fact that you took initiative in that first race AND complete it is such an accomplishment. Here's to safe training and more half-marathon/full marathon accomplishments!

  5. And I saw an ad featuring Team Hoyt on a subway in NY but didn't know the back story - so touching!

  6. Oh my gosh, that story had me in tears. What an incredible father-son relationship. And you are also amazing for aspiring to do a marathon! I can't wait to see you accomplish it all!!

  7. Just found this old post, and OMG that video made me cry like a baby. I'll definitely remember Team Hoyt when my legs are hurting during my next long run.

    1. It's really good inspiration for when things get rough :) They're amazing people.


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