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Local Column

Heimerman: What inspires you? How can you inspire others?

Kayla Heimerman kisses her daughter, Elise, after finishing the Lakefront Marathon on Sunday in Milwaukee.
Kayla Heimerman kisses her daughter, Elise, after finishing the Lakefront Marathon on Sunday in Milwaukee.

That does it. I’m coming out of retirement.

After all, I’d better do it while I’m basking in the glow of my wife, Kayla, completing her sixth marathon, the Lakefront Marathon on Sunday. Notable: About a click ahead of her at all times was DeKalb Corn Classic race director Jessica Antonacci – so before I forget, congrats, Jessica!

My wife is a rock star. She anchors this house, this family, while working and training for races. We hear all the time how cool it is to set such an example for our twin 5-year-olds.

Here’s what too often goes unvoiced amid parenthood, though: She inspires the heck out of me, and yesterday was a prime example.

Kayla set a personal record, and thanks to a really slick app, RaceJoy, I got to agonize over her every move as we hit as many spots as possible to cheer her on. It got my juices flowing, but it wasn’t until a tearful embrace with her in the parking garage near the finish line, our girls strapped into our car seats, that it became clear what I must do.

See, we both ran the Milwaukee Marathon through our old stomping grounds a year ago. It was crazy-windy, raining and generally miserable, yet I smashed my PR. It was tough to enjoy, though, because the race distance was butchered. Aiming to crack 4 hours, I’d finished in 3 hours, 52 minutes – only the course was a mere 25.4 miles, eight-tenths short of a marathon. I’d hacked about 25 minutes off my PR, but it wasn’t legit, as our features editor, Inger Koch, playfully pointed out to me the following Monday.

Good news, though. The race has been bought out by Rugged Races LLC, which has pledged to not let the race be the wrong distance a third straight year. It’s also become a spring race, April 6, rather than fall.

So this is perfect. While a marathon training plan typically takes at least four months, I’m making it six, so to speak. Today, the diet gets fixed up. The strength training goes from “Oh, I haven’t lifted in two weeks, I suppose I’ll do a few squats and curls today.”

Today starts a winning streak that will last six months.

I’m driven by my wife. I admit, I’m also driven by the way that marathon organizer mishap ran interference with me celebrating a longtime goal. I’ve also learned over the years that if I don’t have a race to work toward, or some concrete goal, I won’t fully commit myself. I need that spur – I’m financially committed, or I’m competing with this person.

So, here’s my question: What drives you? Is it family? Money? Health and wellness? Obsessive compulsive disorder? Better yet, how has it manifested itself? What’s the biggest feat you’ve ever achieved? I’d love to know and, who knows, maybe we’ll write about it.

Yes, it’s our mission as a news source to be the watchdog – to follow TIF, court proceedings and all things government. But personally, it’s my mission to mix in stories of great human achievement, to share the love and the inspiration we feel. So what inspires you? How can you inspire others?

Meanwhile, back at the Heimerman household, I hope you’re happy, honey.

Because I am.

• Christopher Heimerman is the editor at the Daily Chronicle. He can be reached at cheimerman@shawmedia.com.

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