What can your two feet do...? A lot more than you think.
I went running today, which I normally am inclined to do alone. 5 miles in Central Park. It's not like I do it every day, but I wouldn't say it's an uncommon event. But here's the thing: because of a couple of amazing organizations out there, a simple 5 mile run made a much greater impact than just calories burned. First off, a great volunteer organization called NY Cares was offering to hook runners up with Achilles International. Now, I love NY Cares because they make volunteering so easy. One simple orientation, and then you are able to sign up, often last minute, for every type of project imaginable. You can walk dogs, paint murals, help with job applications or school work, work in soup kitchens...the options are endless. But last week, the one that caught my eye was Achilles International. I had never heard of them before, but wow. I met an amazing crew of people this morning when I walked into NYRR to discuss our run. Mostly visually impaired/fully blind, but some dealing with other things like autism, these souls just needed one simple thing: someone to help guide their run. They wanted to run. What a simple concept that is to so many people...but what a great way to also share your heart...by sharing your run. The fact that my running partner, blind for the last seven years, would be cruising the hills of Central Park (just as he does the streets of New York City), was only a tiny piece of his hugely inspirational story. He's also working on his Masters in Social Work at NYU. He's training for a triathalon in October. He was out salsa dancing until 5am last night (and still showed up for his run this morning!). On and on he continued to blow my mind and prove the resilience that we humans possess, should we choose to access it. We wanted to do 4 miles, so we set out, tethered to each other, to do our best. We're both decent runners, but definitely both working to improve...and I'll tell you what...I see now why people have running buddies. Anthony's enthusiasm - his constant encouragement "Come on Heide, small strides, it makes it easier....you got this." - his mid-run shouts of "GO ACHILLES! WOOOO!". Well, there was no way I was stopping with that guy by my side. On my own, I would have stopped multiple times. But because of our team work, we not only ran the whole thing straight through, we tacked on another mile!
As if it couldn't get any better. Ever heard of Charity Miles? They're one of my favorite apps. Charity Miles allows you to unlock corporate sponsorships by walking, running, or biking and sends the money you raised (based on the distance you traveled) to the charity of your choice from their list. I always run for the ASPCA so I can help support our furry friends too. :)
Two people. Four organizations. And so much good all coming from one 5-mile run. There is so much possibility to unlock potential from the tiniest things we do every day. One of the slogans that Deux Mains goes by is "What can your two hands do?" The answer: so, so much!! So now I ask also, "What can your two feet do?" The answer: A lot more than you think.