Monday, January 26, 2009

Meeting Judith

It is a little odd to put a picture of a stranger on your blog but I had to.

While Brent and I waited for our races to start in St. George two weekends ago, the woman pictured here approached us with a question about the starting place and time for the 5K. We were as well-informed as she but I suggested that she stay with us and we'd figure it out. The 1/2 marathon started first so Brent was off and Judith and I made small talk.

She was genuinely modest about the number of marathons she has run but did leak out that she is PAID to run...entry fee + a small stipend. I remarked that she must be fast and she gushed and said, "No. I'm just really old!" She needs a hip replacement and debated the weekend race. She then said that she decided she'd rather be running a race than sleeping in like most people. I laughed and told her that I often think after running. "I'm slow and tired but there are lots of 38-year-olds still in bed when I finish!" She gasped, "Your age is 38? You look just like a teenager!" (Thank you braces and big sunglasses!! Or maybe she needs glasses as well as a hip job!)

She told me that she was worried that her running days were coming to an end but was grateful for the big part that it has played in her life and for the accomplishments and confidence she has as a result of what started as a little hobby. We were called to line up and she said, "And you, you have the rest of your life now...38...You are in a good time of your life. Have a good race"

Strangers and brief interactions like this come in and out of our life frequently. I'm sure that this lovely woman did not intend to lift my spirits, encourage my efforts, or instill a small confidence but she did all three with a rather short conversation. Thank you, Judith! I hope I can pay your genuine kindness and inspiration forward.


Kristen Gregson said...

What an inspiration to us all. I love stories like that - they lift us up and motivate us to live our lives to the fullest. Well done, Judith! Well done!

Beverly said...

Wonderful post. No wonder you and the rest of the family love to run races---you meet inspiring people like Judith!

Scott said...

Thanks, Rita, for taking the time to look up Judith's picture and to post the story. Isn't the running community great?

Rockelle said...

I wish I was a runner sometimes...what keeps me from it? ...BIG BOOBS that bounce.
Hey cute blog background you have there eh!

Atkin Family said...

Rocki-- that was too funny!! Gave me a chuckle!!!

Rita -- you know, it's funny b/c I've made a shift in my life this past year. I used go nuts travelling with Troy's dad b/c he was ALWAYS striking up conversations with people. But just recently, I realized there are SOO many great people stories and inspirations out there if we will just break out of our own little world and smile and offer some kind words to others, its amazing the people you will meet and learn from. I'm so glad you shared your story.

I'm thinking I know who paid Judith -- people like me who want to wuss out of a race and pay someone to take our spot!!! Let me know if you have her number!!

Erin said...

Great post, Rita! Thanks for sharing it.

Debbie said...

What a wonderful lady. That is inspiring. I hope to age as well as she is.

I love getting to know strangers and their story. There is something to learn from everyone. And I agree with her insight - you do look like a teenager!