Session Time: 42 minutes
Distance Covered: 3.2 miles
Total Time: 23 Hours 25 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 113.36 miles
Riding high from my experience on Wednesday (albeit with very achy legs…they have certainly been given a wake up call!), I was ready for another fantastic experience this morning.
I’ve been thinking a lot over the last couple of days as to who my next candidate for a run dedication would be.
There are so many people I would love to dedicate a run to, that the decision was not easy…and my chosen person for today’s run in some ways made it a little harder.
Today I wondered if I could lend my legs and arms to Nick Vujicic for a party session, what would he do with them?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Nick, here’s a bit of information about him:
Nicholas James Vujicic (born 4 December 1982) is a preacher and motivational speaker – born with Tetra-amelia, a rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs. He struggled as a child, eventually came to terms with his disability and started his own non-profit organization Life Without Limbs – at age seventeen. He is widely known as a motivational speaker, giving talks worldwide on life with a disability, hope, and finding meaning in life.
Bullied at school, Vujicic grew depressed and by the age of 8, contemplated suicide. At age 10, he tried to drown himself in 6 inches of water, but did not go through with it out of love for his parents. After praying to grow arms and legs, Vujicic eventually realized that his accomplishments could inspire others – and became grateful for his life. A key turning point came when his mother showed him a newspaper article about a man dealing with a severe disability. Vujicic realized he wasn’t unique in his struggles and began to embrace and transcend his disability.
He began to master the daily tasks of life. He learned to write using the two toes on his left foot with a special grip that slid onto his big toe. He learned to use a computer and type using the “heel and toe” method. He learned to throw tennis balls, play drum pedals, get himself a glass of water, comb his hair, brush his teeth, answer the phone and shave.
In grade seven he was elected captain of his school and worked with the student council on fund-raising events for local charities and disability campaigns. When he was seventeen, he started to give talks at his prayer group, and eventually started his non-profit organization, Life Without Limbs.
Vujicic graduated from university at the age of 21 with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. Subsequently he became a motivational speaker, travelling internationally and focusing on teen issues. Having addressed over three million people in over 24 countries on five continents, he speaks to corporate audiences, congregations and schools.
Now, choosing Nick for my run this morning was a bit difficult, because from what I know of him, he is very happy with life (watch this video to see what I mean). He has embraced his condition and uses it to inspire others. Would he really WANT someone to dedicate a run to him?
Nevertheless, having chosen Nick as my inspiration for today’s run, I decided to go with it. My thought was “Who knows, it could lead to an interesting experience…”
Well, that it did.
Having pulled on Tony and Joe and done my stretches we were ready to hit the streets and start the warm up power walking…with the Black Eyed Peas “I gotta feeling” giving us plenty of cause to wiggle and boogie our way around.
Today was a gorgeous morning. Blue sky, bright sunshine.
As we were bopping along to the music I closed my eyes, felt the sun on my face and just appreciated the moment.
This is definitely something that Nick would do.
I found myself looking around as I went, noticing the buds on the trees, the flowers, even the bees.
Yep…still in the realm of Nick.
However…there was a bit of a struggle when I started to run. As much as I was enjoying it and felt that given this opportunity Nick would make the most of every single moment, it wasn’t enough. From what I know of Nick, he’s not someone who is content with enjoying things just for himself. His life purpose is to inspire and connect with others.
Now, the strange thing about this morning was that although I was out at the same time as usual, I saw nobody. I mean literally nobody (outside of their cars that is) for the first mile and a half at least.
So how do you make the most of an experience from the point of view of someone who lives to inspire others when you don’t see anyone to connect with?
Well, the first thing I decided was that I needed to have some fun…make the most of my arms and legs in a way that I normally don’t. Some serious dance moves were going to be required.
Then I realised, if I can’t connect with people directly…maybe I can connect with the people in their cars? How would Nick do this?
Well, given he would have the use of my arms and legs, I’m guessing he would make the most of them…and just try and make people smile.
Cue Claire power walking, dancing and running along the street as big and crazy as she can using her arms and legs to the fullest extent…I mean waving them around…jazz hands…boogying up and down…punching the air…you name it.
I figured if nothing else, it might make them laugh…and I honestly didn’t care if they were laughing with me or at me…as long as they were laughing, that was all that mattered! 😀
I also had a stint in the middle where I really powered forward….I locked my eyes ahead and just enjoyed the fact that I could run as fast as I could…AWESOME!
So, big grin on my very red face, we approach the car weaving section of the run.
When something occurred to me.
Living his whole life without limbs, there are a couple of things that Nick wouldn’t have been able to experience the same way as others…until now: 1) Play airplanes (you know, running around with your arms outstretched, leaning from side to side) and 2) skipping.
Well, given the opportunity I reckon he’d be up for giving them a go!
So I did my car weaving today skipping along, playing airplanes as I went.
I loved it (it’s actually making me laugh just thinking about it!)
…and as much as I got the “back away from the crazy girl slowly, avoiding eye contact” look from the guy who came out of his house just as I was skipping past playing airplanes…I’m sure he loved it too…ish. 😉
I did have to laugh when the theme tune from legally blonde came on my ipod and moments later I had the lyrics “They tell me to act my age…well I am” and “I’m in the race but I’ve already run, cause getting there can be half the fun” blasting in my ears…perfect timing.
So I carried on…smelling roses, lavender and an assortment of other flowers as I went…feeling the dew from the trees on my fingers as I ran passed and high fived them…enjoying the sunshine (at one point I even ran backwards along the road so I could still keep the sun on my face!) and making full use of my arms and legs as I jazz hands and bum wiggled my way along…
What a fantastic morning!
I’ll be honest, after the session on Wednesday, my legs had been very sore, and towards the end they were really starting to hurt…but doing this run from Nick’s point of view completely flipped my view of this on it’s head. I embraced the pain…I would almost go so far as to say I enjoyed it…because feeling the pain meant I could feel my legs. Feeling the pain meant that I must be really working them. Feeling the pain meant I was making the most of them and not taking them for granted.
I used that to power me forward and take the turn to do the longer route.
When…the highlight of my morning!
I saw an elderly lady walking her dog along…having thrown her a winning MCGC (Morning! Colgate grin combo) and stopped to pet her dog briefly she said to me (half joking I think) “would you like to run with him?”
Well…people should know better than to joke about things like that around me…and I’m sure that Nick would have grabbed the opportunity with both of his borrowed hands.
So we did.
The next thing Blue (the dog) and I were running full pelt down the road…with a quick round turn…and then straight back to a beaming Joy (the lady in question).
“Well that certainly woke you up!” she joked to her panting pup, before looking at me and commenting “I wish that I could run like that”.
I wished them both a fabulous day and went on to feed the horses again…something I’m sure Nick would have been more than up for…feeling the slobber on your palms as they lap up the grass and the warmth of their coats as you pat their necks and wish them a good morning.
It’s amazing the things that we take for granted.
With a bit of Katy Perry’s firework to get me going again we were nearly home…but there was still time for a couple of great connections on the way.
We passed a girl doing her paper round who up until now I’ve only been able to wave to as we haven’t crossed each other’s paths…well today was different…as I ran passed her I paused and asked for a high five…to which she obliged with a fantastic enthusiasm. She patted me on the back and wished me a fabulous day with a great smile…which I returned with equal gusto 🙂
Our final connection of the day was a rather amusing one.
We ran past a young boy on his paper round who looked distinctly miserable (the “I wish I was still in bed” look)…so as I went by I turned and wished him a good morning, which he returned to me…albeit in a slightly befuzzled manner…the amusement came when (by not looking where I was going) I tripped over a flowerbed in front of me causing me to stumble all over the place…which I’m sure gave him something to laugh about…it certainly did for us!!
The final song on my ipod today could not have been more apt.
Lady Gaga’s Born this way…I couldn’t imagine a song which more accurately sums up Nick and his approach to life “I’m beautiful in my way, ’cause God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way”…that one was definitely for you Nick.
…and Nick’s words were echoing in my head on the last stretch…”It’s how you finish….are you going to finish strong?”
I probably finished stronger than I ever have before…and my happy dance was totally dedicated to Nick and the inspiration he brought to me and the others who we encountered this morning. Thank you.
Another step closer x