Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Inspiration is a tricking concept. Inspire is described as the action of filling a person with an animation, quickening, or exalting influence. It is to directly influence another person in a positive manner. Inspiration, therefore, is a divine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind and soul….

Hmm…okay that is my smarts for the day. But what does this have to do with anything you ask.

I’m getting there! Hold your horses!

Some are easily inspired. In a lot of ways I envy these people. For it seems as if the mere sight of a butterfly flapping its wings against the wind can create within them a master piece.

On the other hand, I am grateful that I am not so instantaneously swayed. I prefer that it takes more to get under my skin. Blame it on my stubbornness but I just can’t usually take just any person’s words or actions to heart and develop a new outlook or creativity from this. Inspiration is something that I typically believe comes from within. There are triggers like a beautiful sunset or the solemn view of a bird at the waters edge, but it is the idea that is already inside of you that these images bring out.

Still, there has been one source of inspiration for me over the years. It has taken me a little while to figure out where this inspiration was leading me and I’m actually quite distraught with myself to realize it has led me to the most obvious place. Again, my strong head probably blocked all of these years what was already there!

The origination of this inspiration is in another person. This person, well woman, began inspiring me in high school (the height of my stubbornness). I have since been able to stalk follow her on the web across the world with the wonders of social networking! ;-) She was a teacher of mine. Allow me to rephrase that. I was a student of hers. I had many teachers in the literal sense of the word, but I was a student to so few of them in reality. The rest I was merely a talkative know it all in their daily classroom! I choose to say it this way because although I had many adults standing in front of classrooms rambling on about I don’t know what over the years, it was a very select few that actually knew how to dig deep and teach lessons that we will apply in life. Not anyone can impact their students’ lives years later in the way Mrs. McClure has mine. It takes a special kind of person to do this.

I don’t believe I was the easiest student to deal with. I seemed to have been a late bloomer in the mind to mouth filter department and was always easily distracted. Also, despite being smart, I had this thing against homework and always managed the most absurd excuses as to why it wasn’t done!

Sidebar: Let me thank you now, Mrs. McClure, and all my other teachers!, for listening to the nonsense and pushing me forward! I raise my water glass (we’ll pretend it’s wine!) to you!!

Even with the challenges Mrs. McClure would put into our class work, I always looked forward to her class. I actually took a semester of economics just to be in her class again after a year in European history. (This must tell some of you how great she is because she even made dead fat guys and political finances seem interesting!)

The part I enjoyed the most over those few years in her classes was that she was personal. She was real! She did what she loved and joined her other loves with it! All her students know she is a tri-athlete because she openly talks about it all the time (and I only saw her twice in 4 years without New Balance on!) and she hangs all her numbers from races in her classroom! She brought her excitement into everyday. She would give us a run down, play by play, after each race. We were tuned in and aware of her training for Iron Man. She was honest when it was good and honest when it was bad. None of this had a lot to do with history (other than hers!) except that we had a much more open classroom. We spoke on current events. Everything from politics to TV shows.

Sidebar again: I was in school when the first season of Desperate Housewives aired. I did not, and still don’t, watch this show. However it was a topic every week in our class because it seemed EVERYONE in my class did, including you Mrs. McClure. The day after the episode where someone killed someone and buried them in the backyard, I was in a fit! I couldn’t believe how the police were allowing this to be aired on TV! I was all for reality TV but couldn’t the camera men and people get in trouble for not reporting this? And that is when, in between tears and hysteria, Mrs. McClure kindly informed me that this was NOT a reality TV show. Oh yea!

I could go on for another however long rambling about all the memories I had in her classroom (I’m still sorry for the penis that was drawn on her chalkboard in permanent marker by a fellow student…I’m sorry because her face was only too priceless at the end of the year when she finally saw it after 7 months!) But the point is how she has inspired me!! For the last 7 years since I first sat in her classroom, I’ve carried with me the love she poured into her training. She brought that love and commitment with her everyday. We saw affects of her training. We saw her excitement close to races. (We experienced the negativities of her training in pop quizzes :-]) It wasn’t hidden. It wasn’t taboo in the school. It was perfectly right to instill this into us.

The mental and physical benefits would radiate from her as the excitement attached itself to us students. We could cheer with her! We could learn from her. We could support her!

All these years, she has stuck with and made time for something that she loved and that was important to her. No excuses, no walking away because of other commitments, and no giving up! I’ve watched her push and push.

I left school and began moving on. Still remembering the excitement she used to bring. I planned my trip to South Africa (having been warned by Mrs. McClure outside of Panera Bread to make sure I’m not eaten by a Zulu. Thank you for making me realize how unprepared I was because I had to go research what a Zulu was after that comment!) I still found Mrs. McClure online and quickly began stalking following her again! Reading each comment about another run, bike, or swim.

Then one day, I hit the road. I started running. For the first time, not chasing after a soccer ball or because the gym teacher said I had to, I just ran. And it clicked. Mrs. McClure had inspired me to find something I love; that I could love in all areas of my life. That inspiration led me to…duh duh duh…RUNNING! Who would have thought that this inspiration I held so dear to but couldn’t do anything with from a tri-athlete would encourage me to…be…athletic?!!?

Are you gathering my self sarcasm here?

That inspiration is about more than the training and races. It is about sticking it out. It is about putting in the effort necessary to achieve the results. It is about commitment and sacrifice. And it is about enjoying all of it...the good and the bad!
I started running and loved it. Now my pregnant butt just wants to run again! My husband knows this. My family is beginning to get it. They are all becoming aware that one lesson I’ve learnt is to make time and just do it! No excuses! And the best part is, I really do LOVE it!
Thank you Mrs. McClure!


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