Coach Dee Carter: The Long Run

Monday, December 6, 2021 - by Dee Carter
Bo and Tami Chamberlain

Bo Chamberlain is my “cuz” by marriage on my wife, Emily’s, side of the family.

We used to teach together at Red Bank Middle. We had a lot of fun with our students, making them laugh, and enjoy learning Geography.

Bo currently teaches at The Baylor School. We recently had supper as a family when he and his wife, Tami, were visiting their daughter, Zoe, in St. Pete.

Bo is a wonderful person that lives his best life physically and mentally. Below is his inspirational story that we all can learn from and grow as a person.

So, at the beginning of October, I started running regularly again for the first time in about a year. I’d been doing it off and on, but nothing consistent and usually nothing more than 3 miles at a time. After a week or so, I had a lot on my mind and I went for a “long run.” I ended up doing a half-marathon that day. I had only run that far twice before, but I made it.

Years ago, when I ran the first half, I told myself that I’d run a full one before I was 50. Well, I had about two weeks before that was going to happen and I’d never done it. Being on the edge of a half century and having a lot rattling around in my head, I, of course, decided to do it.

I went online to see what it would take to train. Everything said 12 to 16 weeks minimum. I should have already been in the taper period before the race. I did find a two week training program for a half, so I used it as a guide and got to work. Basically, I would have a week to do some long runs and then the next week would be a few short ones and diet prep.

Three days before my birthday, I drove up and down the length of the Chattanooga Riverwalk, leaving waters and Gatorade in the bushes and a snack for myself on the Saint Elmo end. I started in the parking lot at the dam, had to run some length of the South Chick branch to get the full distance, but about 4 hours and 45 minutes later, it was no record, but I’d done it.

To try to explain what happened to me on that run would be impossible. The harder it got, the more into myself I went. I felt the presence of my father and my Nana, who both died in the last few years, and I hadn’t really mourned for them. To push past the pain, I thought of my friends, Karah Nazor and Philip Grymes who are the strongest and most determined people I’ve ever known. The universe even put Byron Brooks, a relentlessly upbeat person, in my path to add some cheer to the day.

I thought a lot about how, no matter what was going on with me, that I was such a fortunate man. I opened myself, listened, and God let me know that he had given me the strength to overcome any obstacles that were in my life. My heart overflowed.

Then, Tami surprised me by being at the finish. I’ll never forget seeing her there. It was an emotionally cathartic experience, and I definitely ugly cried. I’d say it may be the most important thing I’ve ever done just for myself in my entire life.

I decided to commemorate it with a tattoo. It was going to be a little one on my foot just for me, but Tami told me it should be something I should be proud of so, I got one on my calf. It will forever remind me of that day, of the strength God has given me, the worth that I have, the gifts of the people in my life (past and present), and the immense blessings I have been gifted.

I (metaphorically) stand before you a changed (though still flawed) man. Determined to be kinder, be better, love better, appreciate more, help more, and rebuild and refine myself in a way that I hope will make the people that love me proud to call me their friend, their family, and their husband.

I am something I can be proud of, not because of the run, that’s just where I realized it. I’ll never forget that again and I’ll never give up. I hope if you’ve read this post, that you understand your value, your strength, and that you too are worthy of love, compassion, and forgiveness. You deserve a wonderful day, and an even better life. Much love to you all.

(Contact Coach Dee Carter at coachdeesays@gmail.com)

 


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