Well, it was a long 5 weeks of rest and rehabilitation, but on Monday we were able to resume pain-free running. Given the circumstances of our first run, I’m not sure it would have mattered very much as I could hardly feel my feet touch the ground participating in the Back on My Feet Austin launch run.
At 5:30 a.m. outside of Paul Carrozza’s RunTex shop on Riverside Drive a crowd assembled for a one-mile run. For the 28 Residential Team Members, individuals experiencing homelessness, it would be the first mile on a road toward self-sufficiency, employment and housing.
For me, it was a mile back to health, full training and ultimately racing again.
The big story of course was everybody else. I was just a runner among more than a hundred others.
That is the key piece about how the Back on My Feet Program works in breaking down barriers, stereotypes and the way we view a social issue like homelessness. At the end of the day, we’re all just runners. It is my hope that the Residential Team Members are able to find the same things I was able to find deep inside of me when I started running back in 2006, underneath 41 extra pounds of unnecessary weight.
I found strength, self-confidence, self-discipline and most importantly a skeleton key that could unlock so many things in the world around me.
Running was able to impact every aspect of my life. It made me a better husband, a better son, a better brother, coworker and friend.
It has now made me a better Father and ultimately a better human-being.
Wednesday morning I ran with the group again. I ran again with my new friend Max who I ran with on Monday.
Just two days after his first mile, he ran 2 alongside me and never broke stride. His conversation skills started to struggle a bit on the uphill finish to the run, but I took care of that for him this morning. Next time out, he will be even more prepared for that hill up Trinity and hopefully more prepared for all the other hills that rise up in front of him that require climbing – in and out of his running shoes.
If you are interested in learning more about Back on My Feet or running with the group in Austin – visit HERE:
It is only a one time a week commitment, and there are many other ways for you or your company to get involved as a sponsor, employment partner, through an initiative like Sneaker Week, or by participating in a Back on My Feet Race as an individual competitor, team or volunteer.
There are multiple points of involvement, and like most journeys in our sport – you just never really know where the road is going to take you.
All you can do is run ’em one mile at a time.
Congratulations Max. Very proud of the work you put in this morning. I hope you are too.
Run on people.