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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Friends & Family Support -- Vital Component of any Marathon Training

In light of yesterday's confession, let us lighten things up a bit.  Have you considered how important friends and family are to your marathon training?  I recently watch Spirit of the Marathon II out in town with my wife and I think the thing that resonated most, outside of the amazing stories of triumph, were those supporting roles played by family and friends.  I'm not just talking about those that support you from the sidelines of a race but those that are with you day in and day out.  When I think about my own journey towards my first marathon at Walt Disney World (WDW) and my journey towards 110 pounds of weight-loss, I can only but highlight the vital role my friends and family have played and continue to play in supporting these efforts.  Allow me to give you some examples.  Literally within hours of my public announcement concerning my 314 lbs. weight and my intentions to loose weight via my social media sites like FaceBook  ( http://www.facebook.com/tminus110 ) and YouTube ( http://www.youtube.com/tminus110 ) two very good friends (Robert Moody and Chuck Brown) were calling me with encouragement.  Since this time, I am humbled by the response that I have gotten from family, friends and complete strangers via my Tminus110 pages and the continual encouragement that I receive.

In the snapshot above, are my second family, the Moody's and their children, and my wife, Debra,
and our children (Madisynne my 2nd daughter is taking the picture).  My wife at this point in the picture had already been through six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation and was approaching a major surgery the following week.  Doesn't she look good?  Talk about support!  I dedicated this race to my loving wife and her fight with cancer, and despite her own fight, she continues to support my efforts the best way that she can. I love you Debra!

Do you want to know how crazy my daily support system is?  The other day, I went out to my local green-way for a tempo run with two of my daughters.  About 2 miles into our run, we got pelted with severe weather.  Not only did these young ladies continue to run their run but they doubled back after they finished, when they could have kept going out to the car, and caught up with me to encourage me through the torrential rain.  If you have children like me, invite them, they may actually take you up on the offer and discover for themselves that this stuff is fun.  Gabrielle and
Alexis have been along side of me the whole way in snow, heat and now torrential ran.  My 10/yo son Joshua also comes out in support at the green-way with his mountain bike, since he's only good for about a mile of running.  He's a catcher in baseball so we'll let that "slide".  I'm also a proud father to have my oldest daughter, Alexis, (in this picture) joining me at WDW Marathon in 2014.

Finally, let's talk about complete strangers.  How cool is it during a race when complete strangers are cheering you on?  People I don't even know are invested in my effort and it feels great!  I also wanted to thank the complete strangers who have been joining me on my social media sites.  Running has a unique community of people who understands the struggles of another and are completely open to sharing support.

Please tell me about your story.  Who are the people that support you most when you pack those essential items into your fanny packs, back packs and jogging belts. Who gets up with you early on race day, hold up signs in the crowd and nurses you through your injuries when it's all over?  Who are those friends that are closer than a brother (or sister) and support you when everyone else could care less?  Who are the complete strangers you remember the most during a race?

Yours truly,

~Jason Furtak~

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