A Runner’s Inspiration
by Tracey Steinbach
Many times a person does not get the credit they deserve for being an awesome role model and great support. Elaine Doll-Dunn is an amazing person in so many different ways but she has personally touched my life and I just want to shout out how great she is.
It all started at an 11-year-old girls’ basketball game when we were kidding each other about my daughter and her granddaughter who were on different teams. From there we started talking about running – something that she knows so well. I told her that I would love to be able to run longer distance but I hated it because it was so hard for me. At this time I was running a maximum of two miles and hating every second of it but doing it and trying to like it. She told me that she too dreaded the first 2-4 miles and until she got through those, she too was not in her happy spot. As a matter of fact, she said it isn’t running that she really loves but the feeling she gets when is done. The next thing I knew, she was talking about an upcoming event that her and her husband organize and that she could help me train for a half marathon (13.1 miles); but I had to “want” to do it. And if I did, I could. The next thing I knew she had given me a schedule of running for the next seven weeks. We kept in touch via e-mail and she continued to encourage me and tell me how great I was doing. I started to read about marathon training and everything I read had an 18-week preparation – not six! My husband by my side and Elaine just a click away, I trained the best I could. She was always there to pat me on the back and even understand when I was miserable from the next run that was a little further than the one before. Finally the night before the marathon came and not only was I nervous but it was pouring rain and snowing up in the Hills. I thought to myself, “this is just going to have to be a donation because I am not running 13.1 miles in that”! Again, Elaine was there to make me smile and give some encouraging words. Sunday morning my husband and I headed up to Deadwood to get our numbers for our half marathon and who was right there to give a hug and a smile but Elaine.
I told her I wanted to throw up and she said, “I know, but do you have toilet paper? You’ll be fine.” How can you argue with that? We loaded the bus and started our venture to the starting line. Lo and behold there she was again, like my angel knowing when I needed her. She asked me if I trusted her and I told her, “Well, I have so far – don’t let me down now!” We laughed and away I went.
Yes, we ran the half marathon and without my dear husband beside me I may have taken a wrong turn but as we crossed the finish line together. There she was with a smile and an “Oh my gosh, I didn’t expect to be seeing you for another 15 minutes.” She looking beautiful and me not, I got a hug and a tear thinking I had just done the impossible. And I enjoyed it! – (Not the last mile and a half but most of it).
Elaine, thank you so much for all you have done for me! I couldn’t have done it without you. In your busy days you always had the time to lend. You are truly an inspiration to many people including Brent and I. You and Jerry did an awesome job on an event that skyrocketed from 70 people last year to over 400 this year! Great job and thanks again!
Tracey Steinbach – Spearfish, SD
June 12, 2003