“I’m in the hospital,” said Kevin, the national coach for Team McGraw. “My foot’s all screwed up. We are waiting on test results, but I’m still planning to make it to New York.”
Ouch. That wasn’t part of our plan. I was set to run the 2010 New York City Marathon in November with Team McGraw. Training had gone pretty well, though touring Australia with Mr. McGraw through the fall did make training a bit challenging. Still, things were pretty on track.
Meanwhile, Coach Kevin Leathers has had the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in December on his radar all year. He runs crazy fast. Painful fast. Qualify for the Boston Marathon fast. I’m not there; that’s why he’s “Coach Kevin.” His plan was to set a PR (personal record) in Memphis.
We are both runners. We love getting out there. But it is so much more important for us to be available to our runners, our team, those that have trained so hard in dedication to the fight against brain tumors and traumatic brain injury.
If we are out there as runners, we aren’t really available during the race to advise, offer injury assistance, or generally just “attaboy” the folks. Things can get dark in the toughest of moments in the marathon, and we want to help our folks make it through the tougher spots. And we’re both runners, so we know…even a well-placed smile along a grueling race course can make all the difference.
The path was clear; I would not be running New York this year.
Fortunately, our resilient – (some say hard-headed) – Coach Kevin did make it out of the hospital just in time to catch his flight. He wouldn’t be running, or even really mobile, but he was gonna be there. Foot bound in a protective boot. Crutches in hand.
Luggage…that’s my job. You keep up with the crutches, pal. Sit down. SIT DOWN. I’ve got it. You wanna help? Sure. Carry my cell phone and hush; you are on “injured reserve.”
Coach Kevin and I spent the weekend of the ING New York City Marathon on the sidelines – in truth, a much more gratifying place to be. We were there to see each of our runnin’ brothers and sisters smile, warm up, fret, pose, stretch, start, sail, breathe, relax, laugh, hurt, fret, strain, worry, walk, frown, run, grimace, persist, growl, endure…and finish. Awesome.
Not once did I regret choosing not to run. But Coach Kevin, he had no intentions of letting me off the hook completely.
”Uh…yeah, Coach? You wanted to talk to me?”