A Recommendation

By: Amy Baker

To my running friends:

Math question of the month: I picked randomly 20 Facebook friends, and counted that 12 of them I knew through running. How many of my 524 friends would you estimate that I know through running? (see the Thank You section for the answer) 

I spent the morning of Monday, April 15 pressing refresh on my athlete tracking page to see all the runners I know finish. I felt inspired. I spent Monday afternoon checking Facebook, text messages, and emails to check and make sure all my friends were okay. I was shocked by the explosions, yet inspired by the compassion of the running community that I am honored to be a part of. I have never run Boston, but I feel that it is like a Mecca for distance runners at some point in our running careers; we should all make the journey to Boston.

The recommendation: for anyone going through a difficult time, or for anyone who has ever gone through a difficult time, I would recommend Man’s Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl. After Monday’s tragic events, I looked back to this book and remembered a few of my favorite parts.

On making a difference: 

“To be sure, a human being is a finite thing, and his freedom is restricted. It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions”

On making the best of a situation: 

“We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation — we are challenged to change ourselves.”

A Thank You:

Based on my random sample we have 12 runners for every 20 friends, so an estimated 60% of my friends are from running. Out of my 524 friends an estimated 314.4 of them I know from running (I wonder which friend is the .4). This is a great way to get a logical estimate without counting everyone.

Who are these people? 

They are high school or college teammates. They are kids I coached when I lived in Michigan, when I lived in Virginia, and when I coached at Del Valle here in Texas. They are people that I met at races from all over the United States. They are my community, my friends who I met because I didn’t want to run for 3 hours on Sunday alone. After college I found a coach in Michigan, then a running group in Northern Virginia, and finally when I moved to Austin, I found an entire city of runners at Rogue.

Coming to Austin, I felt like a kid at New York’s FAO Schwarz who’d only ever been in small town Toys R Us. I had never seen such an amazing running community. I was new in town. I had moved down here with everything I owned in a Honda civic, all for young love. I did find love – I fell for the city and its people. Rogue provided me with a team, as they do for elites and new runners alike. No matter what your level, they have a program for you. Here are some of my favorites from my team at the Cap 10k my first year here.

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The runners I know are kind and forgiving. They are there for you whenever they can; they are thankful when you can get together and understand when you can’t. They truly love unconditionally. They believe in you, that you can beat the odds, even when the McMillan running calculator says you really can’t be that fast.

So THANK YOU to all of you, for being awesome.

A Favor:

A qualifying time isn’t the only thing you need to get to Boston. You need plane tickets, hotels, entry fees, shoes, and lots of power gels. Running is often an upper/middle class sport and as a community we can change that. Even if you stick to local races, you still need shoes, an entry fee, and people to inspire you. Coaching at an East Austin High School was an eye opening experience for me. I will never forget what one of the girls said to me, “Ms. Baker you are the ONLY adult I know who exercises.” Every time I think of this, it reminds me to give back to these programs like Marathon High that support running in lower income communities. Donate to marathon high program, any amount helps; click here to go to the web site and learn more.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

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