Imagine me, a little Tyler dribbling a soft plush soccer ball around the house. Taking it upstairs, downstairs, in the basement I’d be playing with the soft soccer ball. Why? Well the obvious answer is that I’m not allowed to kick a real soccer ball around the house! The less obvious answer is much more interesting. When i was little I wanted to be the best soccer player I could be. I put my ‘life savings’ together and bought a soccer full-size rebounder net and played hours out in the yard. But that wasn’t enough, I wanted to know how the best soccer players in the world became great. I read a story about the most famous soccer player ever, Edison “Edson” Arantes do Nascimento, or Pele as he was nicknamed. Pele was poor growing up and could not afford to buy a soccer ball, so instead he took several old socks and put them together to make a ball. He kicked it around everyone and learned the best footwork with a soccer ball anyone has ever, and may ever, have. I wanted to be the best too, and wanted to follow in Pele’s footsteps (no pun intended).
Why do I tell this story? Well I received an e-mail from a reader of my running log on Athleticore.com. This young man said the following…
“It really is so neat for someone like me to be able to follow your training, progress, and ultimately your results through Athleticore. I really thank you for allowing the public to view your training. It is very inspiring, and just shows what kind of hard work you are putting in day after day after day. I love checking your log and reading about all your different workouts. I wish more pro runners were willing to do that. Well, I think that is enough said for now. I’m routing for you all the way to London. Keep your head up, and keep believing. You seem like a very gracious, and courageous young man. I love your fighting spirit. A real role-model for those of us who share that passion for running and life.”
The words were very touching to me. When I first created the website with regular blog updates I received several comments and insults that it was egotistical to start a blog and that I was just doing it to promote my sponsors. Let me tell you, first and foremost my sponsors want me to run fast. That simple. The faster I run the better for them. I wanted to start the blog so that other runners could be inspired by the training and racing that I’ve done, my motivation, and to stay in touch with friends and family. I’m not trying to compare myself to Pele, but the point that you look up to someone and try to emulate them is the idea. This is why I write about my training and share it with you. This is why I describe races so that you make be inspired to do them. Leaving a PhD program in Meteorology at Penn State was a difficult decision, but I felt that if I could inspire one person by showing that I’m giving it 100%, then it was worth it. Kyle – thank you for the e-mail! You made my day.
Speaking of giving it 100%…this week I gave it 130%…or at least 130 miles! It was the best week of training in my life with several quality workouts. I’m looking forward to competing at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon next Sunday and spending time with my family over Thanksgiving. Family is always #1 in life, so have a great holiday with family and friends and be thankful for the support you have in life.