Next Sunday I am running Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle. I am getting excited. Yesterday I ran 6.1 miles. Twice around the lake I live on. It felt so great. I had run over 4 miles before, so I knew adding a mile or two wouldn’t break me. I wanted to run more than an 8k to know that next Sunday would be easier than I expected. I think I am there.

I was about halfway done. Rounding the corner that would bring to the last stretch to where I began my run. A man whom I had passed earlier in my run, we were heading opposite ways, rounded the corner as I did. I always smile and say hi to the other runners, so obviously I was going to say hi again to this guy. My comrade in arms. You sort of feel that way when you see other runners out there. I do at least. Maybe I am weird. Anyway, he smiled at me and gave me a little round of applause! So I returned the applause for him. What an encouragement! I had just been debating if I was going to go for the 2nd lap. Did I feel up to it? Once I committed I didn’t want to turn around. I was probably doubting myself when I shouldn’t have been. That round of applause sent me in the right direction. I KNEW I could do it. What was stopping me? Just my silly brain that is all. I am fit. I work out daily. I gave birth and lost all the baby weight in less than a year. I started working out 3 weeks postpartum! If I want to do it I can do it! So I did it and I am glad.

I was hoping I would run (haha) into him on during my 2nd lap but I didn’t. He must have ended his run. Oh well. I wish I could thank him for that silent encouragement. Sure he knew he was encouraging me, but he didn’t know how his encouragement helped me to really push myself yesterday. I always try to live by the rule that you will never regret a workout. That had slipped my brain for a few tired moments, but  his applause quickly snapped me back to reality. I would have regretted not giving 6 miles a shot. What is the worst that could happen? I get too tired and have to walk a mile or two home??? That is no big deal. At least I would still be moving. I didn’t have to do that. But if I would have it wouldn’t have been so bad. It was a lovely morning after all. There were tons of walkers out.

So thank you to the man who gave me the encouragement I needed to reach a personal goal! I hope that someone pays it forward to him. I know that I will see how I can encourage a stranger in my life this week. Sometimes all we need is a little unconditional encouragement, love, or a small act of kindness from someone who knows you can never personally repay them.