The words, mantra, of Bart Yasso apply to everyone and their journeys but as he signed my copy of "My Life on the Run," I couldn't help as if it was something that I - I - needed to here on that day, in that moment. I just finished week one of training for the Athens half, got connected with someone who might lead me to another cool race opportunity and am looking toward some fall events as life spins its wily head.
I can't change things but I don't have to let them limit me either, ya know.
Yasso was the keynote speaker at the Fort Wayne Track Club banquet, and the chief running officer of Runner's World magazine spent the weekend here - inspiring us, learning about us and being generally nice, warm and enthusiastic. He spent part of Saturday just hanging out at Three Rivers Running Company, my running store, and later talked with high school kids. He took photos and signed books, gave hugs and made us laugh.
All the while, he was reminding us not to limit our running and where it will lead.
For him, it has taken him to East Africa, India, the top of the world (and the bottom). He has ran races in Death Valley in some of the toughest environmental conditions and a race in Colorado with a burro named Taco Bell that might have proven to be just as tough. There was the moment, surrounded by the picturesque parts of the world - Antarctica, when he discovered that penguin poo is among the most foul on the planet. It was not to be outdone by the time he learned he would speak at a spaghetti dinner and run a 5K in the buff. Thank goodness, it wasn't in the same place.
A lot of this is in his book, "My Life on the Run," which I've been manically reading since I got it Wednesday. It's well written and engaging and sort of makes you want to max out your credit card to do all the races.
One of the other things, just as important as his adventures, was the importance of the community. The group of runners, what it means in an area, to an event, to the world. He spoke of what it meant to be at the 2013 Boston Marathon and what he expects it to be. He shared what running means to others, around the world, and the upcoming "Finding Strong" movie that Runner's World and Saucony produced.
He said it's those stories - and our stories - that makes his job so rewarding and inspiring. Inspiring him. What a thought.
This year was my third time attending the banquet with my good pal Chris, and I think Yasso was by far the most engaging and entertaining speaker (past years have included Shalane Flanagan and Dave Wottle). I could probably just listen to talk to him for days - and it's quite possible since the winter weather here is delaying his return to Pennsylvania.
Bart, if you are reading this ... if you need lunch .... well, you know ... just kidding ... maybe.