Raced yesterday morning, did a speed 3 miler in the PM, going out this morning for 4.5 miles. Okay, I'm a total running geek - guilty - and I read a lot about runners and running. Sometimes I come across something so amazing that it just sums up the spirit of what this is all about and I want to share this below story with you about that woman on the right: Things haven't come easily for Susan Graham-Gray, but the 39-year-old runner has qualified for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the women's marathon despite having a degenerative eye disease known as Stargardt's Disease, which causes progressive vision loss. “I just try not to use it as an excuse,” she says. “Sometimes, it's played to my advantage, to never give up on things". Gray qualified May 6 at the Poconos Run for the Red Marathon in Stroudsburg, Pa., where she ran a time of 2:45:32 to win the women's division and finish eighth overall. Running under the qualifying time of 2:47:00 booked her trip to Boston for the April 20, 2008 trials. The top three finishers at the Olympic trials will make the U.S. Olympic team and travel to Beijing for the 2008 games. And while that would be some very sweet icing on the cake, Gray has already accomplished what she initially set out to do. “Mike (husband) and I talked about this and he said that at this point, I've reached the epitome of my main goal, which was to make it to the trials,” she says. “But I've still got to be the best I can be once I get there. I hope to set a PR (personal record). Some people will go there and just think, ‘I'm happy and I'm done.' I want to go there and improve.” The drive to improve can be a steep mountain to climb for long-distance runner. “The hardest thing is needing constant motivation and intensity day in and day out,” says Gray, who also ran at Hampton High School near Pittsburgh and West Virginia Wesleyan College. “I don't think it's just the race day itself - it's the preparation to get to that race day. Day in and day out, it can get a little grueling.” “The biggest hurdle to overcome is that she can't do trails by herself,” says Spinnler. “It's hard for a world-class runner to be confined to running 12-15 miles on the treadmill in the basement. It takes a great deal of motivation. On the track, Susan will tilt her head and use her peripheral vision, which she claims is her best vision, to help guide her. Coaches and teammates will help her along the way and warn her of obstacles such as ditches and ruts. “Mike usually bikes with me on the course, or I have a guide,” she says. “I don't really know what's going to happen that day (of the trials), but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.” Stargardt's presents difficulties for Susan off the track, as well. She relies on teammates and family members for transportation while juggling her running schedule with raising a seven-year-old and two six-year-old twins with her husband Bob. The rare disease has had its impact on her at times. “It lets you know that life is not always going to go your way,” she says. “I realized that running became an outlet, and that I could sit there and feel sorry for myself or I could make this happen.” And while she could have easily used her misfortune as an excuse to not challenge herself, she refuses to do so. “I can't go that route, she says.” It's one route she doesn't need a guide for. [end]
I don't know this woman - but I just love her. How can you not love this woman? This is it ya'll - this is what it's all about. I read this and think "what's my friggen excuse?" Seriously - I can go sub 3:00, rebuild my company & actually celebrate Father's Day '08 as an actual Father! I can make this happen! We all can be like Susan Graham-Gray - if we try. Have a wonderful day - and try!