We only have what we give. ~ Isabel Allende
One of the things that makes me successful in my life is that I have surrounded myself with awesome people. Some of them are positive and enthusiastic. Some are brilliant and knowledgeable. Some are role models and leaders. Some are excellent training partners. And some simply “get me” and can talk me down from Crazy Mountain. And then there’s that one person that is all of these and more. For me, that one person is my friend, teammate, coach, leader, training partner, and all around awesome human, Sara Dowdy.
Last fall Sara knew I was struggling to train and asked me to do the swim on a relay at MiamiMan in November. It was exactly the purpose I needed to get in the weight room and the pool three days a week and put me in the best swim shape I had been in since high school. She could have chosen any of the many swimmers faster than me, but it was exactly the thing I needed, and it was a fantastic weekend with Sara and her family.
This spring Sara organized the Trinity Team for the IOC 5K. I was happy to join as a walker, and it was exactly the right thing for me at a time when walking was the best rehab for my knee. There were plenty of runners, but making a place for me on that night turned out to be inspirational and exactly right.
To be fair, Sara does this all the time. No matter what race she is training for, if someone needs her help she is there. She opens the pool and does all the open water swims with our newcomers. She runs with anyone that asks and will do a workout or a race with anyone, no matter the pace. She trains with her parents, her husband, her sister, her friends, her students, and in fact, any random stranger I recruit to our team. She has single-handedly dragged me out for so many rides, despite the fact that at best the ride will be is tough. On a “great” day she will break me, exactly when I need it.
This past week was typical Sara. On Monday she rounded up folks for a run/walk for Boston. On Tuesday she discovered she had a wicked ear infection. By Saturday she was out in St. Petersburg helping her own kids become triathletes. On Sunday she competed in her own Olympic length race, once again qualifying for nationals.
I have learned more that I can ever explain from Sara, but for me the big lesson is clear. Surround yourself with people that move you forward. Find those folks that inspire you and attach yourself to them like barnacles to a boat. Let them lift you as only they can do. And when you achieve your goals, turn to the newcomer, the neighbor, the friend, the child, and do exactly the same.
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. ~John Holmes