Inspiration

I participated in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge last week. 645 companies signed up to run this 5K race, taking place in Chicago’s downtown area. 23,000 people signed up and from the feels of it, all of them showed up, although it seemed to be too cold to run.
I got there later than the call. The DePaul team was getting together to take a photograph about 2 hours before the race started. I got there an hour before. I was freezing even though aside from the running shirt and the under long sleeve t-shirt, I was wearing 3 more layers.
As soon as everyone had spoken in the stand and “I got a feeling” from the Black Eyed Peas had played, the race began. The red group was off, then the yellow, and finally the white.
I jogged it. I just started walking/jogging again, so I knew I couldn’t aspire to jog it all the way, but I jogged most of it. As I was jogging, and wanting to take breaks to walk and calm a blister that was forming in one of my toes, I looked around and got inspiration from older people around me. I kept telling myself “If she can do it, so can I.”
There was this older guy whom I was finding most inspiring. He had white hair and a tummy, he was in the white team with me, so clearly not a runner, but still, he was there, making the effort.
Coming close to the finish line, just about 2 curves away, I hear a loud thud to my right. I look and it was the old guy, laying on the floor, face down, collapsed. I stopped. A mob of people quickly formed around him. I couldn’t believe it, he didn’t seem ok at all. One of the events’ security guy came over, and I think eventually brought an ambulance.
I was stunned, but kept going, people around me were mobbing me forward. I couldn’t stop myself from thinking “He couldn’t do it!”
The next day, once I was already gone to NYC, Mike forwarded a news email titled “Tough Race”: “Man dies in Chicago 5K race.” The guy I had been looking to for support, my inspiration through out the race, fell and died right there.
I guess this goes to show that sometimes we really can’t do it, sometimes it really is too much to take. And a part of me feels sad because my inspiration, although I really did not know this man, died last Thursday, and reminded me that sometimes we just need to say no, and sit it out.

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