by ryanhall | May 24, 2010 |
It’s been a week of breathing hard as my lungs try and keep up with the unusual high amount of energy in my legs following my month break. The first two workouts back went well, but we all know its not about where you start the marathon buildup, its about where you finish, so I am keeping my eyes up looking onward to October.
It wasn’t all training this week. I had the opportunity to travel down to my hometown, Big Bear Lake, Ca, and watch the Tour of California. It was fun to watch those guys launch attack after attack only to end up sprinting ½ mile straight uphill to the finish just a mile from the house I grew up in.
Being in Big Bear, particularly at the finish line, where I spent so many hours running up the ski slopes of Snow Summit, put me in a reflective mood as I remembered my Dad and I training for upcoming meets. I remembered running up an abandoned ski resort on a snow day with a snowboard over my shoulders feeling the painful burn in my lungs and legs. I remembered doing intervals on the dirt track as snow would begin to come down and it would be just the two of us out there working hard for breakthrough. But more than anything I remembered the lessons my Dad taught me and how the time he spent with me over those crucial teenage years changed the course of my life forever.
My Dad taught me to dream big and then to have the grit to go after those dreams with an unrelenting focus and passion. We always set big goals and then worked very hard to make those happen. I didn’t achieve all my high school goals, like running a sub 4 minute mile, but I can write today knowing that we went after those goals with everything within us. It was the “good life” pursuing my, rather our, dreams together. Perhaps the biggest influence my Dad had on me was his belief in me, which ultimately translated to my own self-belief.
Before I ever had any desire to start running my Dad told me I could be a world class runner if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to be, so he didn’t force the issue until it became my own. I’m extremely grateful that even though he could see some special gift in me, he didn’t force it to come out, he trusted that God would bring it out in His timing, which He certainly did. Another time it was the summer before my Junior year in high school and I had written 4:05 in the cement as my goal for the coming years 1600 meter, which was a lofty goal considering I had only run 4:22 the year before, however I knew my Dad believed it was possible and I believed it was possible. I didn’t share that goal with many people because I knew that 99% of people would laugh at me. That May, with the help of my Dad, I ran 4:05, twice.
Having my Dad’s mentoring influence on me growing up has lead me to want to find away to do the same for other kids out there, who like me, maybe have an incredible potential lying in them, they just need someone to come alongside of them, partner with them, believe in them, and give them some encouragement along the way. While I don’t have any kids of my own to mentor I believe that through The Hall Steps Foundation I can help put running mentoring programs together to facilitate such relationships, which is why we recently launched the Steps Running Mentoring program in Chicago. I am extremely excited to be involved with the Chicago-based program because it has changed my life and I am confident it can do the same for the kids in Chicago. It is my goal that one day I’ll be watching Steps Running-Mentoring Program graduates in the Olympic Games. I can personally attest to the kids that these relationships may be just the way to get there.
If you would like to have the opportunity to get involved in a running mentoring program please visit our website at http://TheStepsFoundation.org.