With 8 weeks to go, Team Love4Gambia is pleased to help you get to know some of the road warriors who are lacing up their sneakers to help kids and communities in The Gambia. These runners and walkers are warriors because they are training through the winter, because they are helping when it counts, and because they would be doing any manner of other things aside from running for The Gambia, for NSGA.
We will be profiling one to two of our runners and walkers each week for you, our wonderful followers. We want to show you what makes these generous people tick, what makes them tie their laces and head out the door, what makes them show up for us.
Up first is Steve Keeling. This is Steve’s rookie year on Blue Nose Team Love4Gambia. It’s also his rookie year in the world of road racing. Without further ado, I give you Steve! (answering questions posed by me):
EP: What motivated you to join Team Love4Gambia this year?
SK: This question is complicated. I have a number of motivations, but the main one is the inspiration I received from reading about Erin running across The Gambia. I may not have run at all, let alone join the Love4Gambia team, were it not for reading the blogged account of her adventure. After that, I read about what the Nova Scotia-Gambia Association does and I learned why Erin did what she did. Now I will never be doing anything so ambitious, but I figured that every bit, no matter how small to someone else, counts in a big way. So this is my bit for a great cause.
EP: As a runner returning to the sport after a long absence, what’s been the easiest part of your training?
SK: Well to be honest, I never really was a runner of any measure. I had to complete an annual 1.5 mile run in the first few years I was in the Navy, but that ended about 1983. I did ride bicycles a lot, some distance and some minor competitions, but never really was a real runner. I’m not sure if there is any easy part of my training, except the fact that I self motivate fairly easily, and I am definitely motivated.
EP: What’s been the most challenging part of training?
SK: Ha Ha. There have been a number of challenges, but most of them are related to the fact that I have been very inactive for a long time and my body is fighting me in every way it can with each step I take. But my body’s resistance is waning and my mind and heart and soul are winning the fight. This has been a great learning experience for me, I learn more of what my body is capable of and how my mind can push it a little more every time I pull my shoes on to run, or hit the gym. I have experienced exhaustion and some pretty serious pain, but I just smile and push through it.
EP: Has anything surprised you in your training?
SK: Surprises, there have been a few. Probably the biggest is that I think I can actually do this. When I registered, I was excited and motivated, but none of that really counts when the rubber hits the road. I turn 55 the day before the 10K run and I now really think I might be able to pull this off without collapsing or having a heart attack, I don’t think I will embarrass myself or any of my great supporters. And there have been a lot of them, thank goodness.
EP: What is your favorite part of running?
SK: My favourite part of running is a bit of a surprise in itself. I really get a rush out of reaching the point where my lungs and legs start to scream and I am sure I can’t go another step, and then punching through it. I remember doing that when bicycling and when you get to the other side, you feel like you can run forever. More than a second wind, it’s a crazy exhilaration.
EP: How do you keep motivated?
SK: Well I am fairly well self motivated, but there are days when I don’t feel like thinking about running or the gym. I then think about the commitment I made and the people who I basically promised I would do this for and then I’m fine. That and I want to avoid embarrassing myself on run day. heh heh.
EP: What are you most looking forward to on race day?
SK: Wow. I am looking forward to all of it. I plan on experiencing all of it and just soaking up the complete event like a real runner. I am excited just thinking about what it will be like. But after the run, and I’m not calling this first one a race by the way, I’m not out to race anyone, my goal is to complete not compete. Anyway after the run, I am going to celebrate my 55th birthday, as I won’t be partying it up the night before. Gotta be in form for the run dontcha know.
EP: What advice would you give to other new runners to assist them in their training for the Blue Nose Marathon?
SK: Well I can’t really speak to anyone as some kind of expert that is for sure. But I would tell anyone that this has been and continues to be a great thing for me. Not just physically, though that is important to me, but psychologically as well. I have learned a lot about me. But if you really want to give this a shot, just go for it. There are so many cool people around who are more than willing to help you or point you in the direction you need. The resources to help you do this are there for you to make use of. Trust me, if I can make this kind of commitment and accomplish it, like I fully expect to, then almost anyone can.
EP: Thanks, Steve! You are a real rookie inspiration and we wish you the best on “run”-day. We know already that you can do it, that you can succeed. Your mind, heart and soul have already won the fight.
Check out the rest of Team Love4Gambia roster by clicking here.
Up next, Blue Nose Team Love4Gambia’s Debbie Martin. Stay tuned!
Are you a Team Love4Gambia runner/walker who wants to be profiled? Please get in touch with me!