The Altruistic Run Under The Sun

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Running consistently without being in adequate shape is a great way to get nowhere pretty quickly.  Running consistently while not just being in shape physically but also mentally, is a great way to reach your intended destination, goal and ultimately the finish line despite the obstacles.  The finish line, the destination and the goals — these are all different for each of us.

All of our goals are different and all of our goals are strategically located in a specific destination — a destination that is home to each of our respective designated finish lines.  Crossing these lines isn’t easy for anyone, but for some, the understanding that the purpose of crossing said lines may not just benefit themselves personally, but it, in more cases than not, can benefit others in more ways than one.  That understanding is real and for some, it’s the only thing that matters in life.

Florida Gators is Brinda's favorite College Football team.

Florida Gators is Brinda’s favorite College Football team.

That understanding, that philosophy is what has guided Brinda through most of her adult life.  It is what has driven her through the trials of being a wife, a mother and most importantly, through the trials of being altruistically committed to making the world a much better place for everyone.

Now — a dedicated and passionate fan of football and mother of two, Brinda has unselfishly given herself, dedicated her life to the well being of others and done so in a way that has made her loved ones proud.

Brinda doesn’t do it for props, recognition or publicity.  Everything she does, she does it because it’s what’s in her heart.  She grew up a football fan and has undoubtedly become an even bigger fan as the years have gone by.  Not a timid or casual fan by any stretch of the imagination, her heart is truly into the sport.  Like many others, Brinda was introduced to football by her father, who was a Steelers fan.

“My dad introduced me to the game around the age of two.  I actually remember eating french fries and watching football.  So I’m a huge football fan,” she states behind a smile.  “I love basketball as well — the center position is the position I love the most — love seeing the tall guys get it done.  But, as far as football is concerned, yes I was very little when I first introduced to and fell in love with the game of football.”

“I’m a Florida Gator fan, but I also love the Razorbacks as I lived in Arkansas for twenty years, so there’s always a special place in my heart for them. I grew up a Cowboys fan — I picked my team when I was two years of age — funny how I can remember that but I do.  I think I found myself infatuated with the star on the Cowboys helmet.  I think that was the reason I picked the Cowboys so young.”

The seemingly elementary reason Brinda “decided” to become a Cowboys fan at the age of two pales in comparison with her reasons why she decided to stop following the team after becoming a mother of two — reasons she feels as though any mother, any parent would undoubtedly understand.Brinda is a dedicated and committed
Jacksonville, Jaguars fan.

Brinda is a dedicated and committed Jacksonville, Jaguars fan.

Brinda is a dedicated and committed Jacksonville, Jaguars fan.

“I was still a fan of the Cowboys around the time the Cowboys won those Superbowls with Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith and Michael Irvin but they seemingly took a turn in the wrong direction character wise.  When you’re raising kids, character becomes a big concern, at least for me it was and still is.  Character is important as far as my teams are concerned, it’s always been that way and nothing has changed in that regard.  I’m a hometown girl now, so I find myself rooting exclusively for the Jacksonville, Jaguars.”

Football is Brinda’s pastime but her passion is firmly planted elsewhere at this stage in her life –Running.  Brinda, at the age of 49, has become an avid runner as she makes it a consistent part of her daily routine.  She runs for plenty of personal reasons, but the overall reasons defines everything she stands for at this point in her life.  I wanted to know from her, what running did for her? What it was that she got out of running consistently and avidly.

“Well,” she quickly replied behind a chuckle. “It makes me look really young.  I’ll be 50 in less than a month and I look younger now than when I did before I started running like this.”

Brinda has a point, as upon first glance, she looks nearly a decade younger than her actual age.  A benefit she certainly accepts, receives and is thankful for but it’s the only “benefit” from running she didn’t actually start out to achieve.  “Yes there’s the health benefits,” she continued. “But–  there is so much more behind why I run.  One of the biggest benefits that I probably get out of it is that alone time with God.  It’s that time where you can kind
of shut everything down.  At sunrise, when I run, its my time with God — its like church.”

I asked Brinda if it was a way for her to escape.  I wanted to know if running under these clouds, under these morning sunrises was a way for her to escape — way for her get away.

Brinda finds herself running under surreal scenery every morning.

Brinda finds herself running under surreal scenery every morning.

“Not just escaping,” she quickly replied. ” It’s slowing it all down.  We live in such a busy world, going 100 miles per hour, we hardly ever slow down. That time when I run, that’s is me slowing down in awe of God and everything that he does.  It’s essentially my time to shut down and be still.  I don’t ever want to not be in awe of God’s creation and I take and share those pictures to remind people.”

“I share those pictures with everyone that I can to consistently remind people how great God is.”

“Every time I’m at the beach and I run under a sunset or a sun rise and I see those colors changing, I thank God each and every time for me being special enough for him to share this with me on that day.  So I look at it as treasures when I get to do this and see all that I see.”

Brinda takes time to reflect on everything under the scenery every morning she runs.

Brinda takes time to reflect on everything under the scenery every morning she runs.

That’s not to say there aren’t times when Brinda won’t place some Justin Beiber, Black Eyed Peas and some Lecrae in her ears and she’s out there jamming on the beach while she runs. Brinda doesn’t hesitate to stop and dance in order to celebrate everything and anything.  That sums up everything about who she is — reflection on all that is bigger than her and remembering to take time to celebrate all that brings her joy and life.
There is however, an underlining reason –an ultimate purpose for Brinda’s infatuation with running. She loves to run, to help others.  It’s essentially apart of who she is and she has no intention of changing that any time soon.

“I used to just kinda run to run for the aforementioned benefits but I graduated to 5K races few years ago, then I moved up to half marathons.  It wasn’t until I moved back home to Florida when I became involved with the Tim Tebow foundation.  Becoming involved in Tebow’s foundation, afforded me the opportunity to meet and establish relationships with Tim Tebow and David Nelson. I’m currently involved in both of their charities Nelson’s “I’m ME” foundation and Tim Tebow’s foundation.”

“I started to run after sitting back and thinking about what it was that I could do to help. When you believe in someone or something, you want to help but there was only so much that I thought I could do.  I remember saying to myself – “I’m not a football player, I’m not famous, I don’t have a platform — what is it that I can do?”

“I was lacing up my shoes one morning and I remember thinking to myself, I can run and I can raise money by running.  So that’s how that started.  This is now my third year running for charity.  I ran for Tim Tebow’s foundation first, then last year I ran for David Nelson’s “I’m Me” Charity and this year I’m back running in the Tim Tebow
charity.”

This year, Brinda finds herself once again running in Tebow’s charity. Something she first experienced few years ago shortly after Tebow was drafted.  It was then she first realized what a special and overall genuine person he was.  Being around him and his family, seeing how genuine they were in everything they were doing ultimately helped
Brinda solidify her own thoughts, her own reasons in all that she was doing.

Brinda has build a fruitful relationship with Tim Tebow and his family.

Brinda has build a fruitful relationship with Tim Tebow and his family.

“The first year I was running for Tebow’s charity and volunteering for his tournament, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with him and his family.  I was able to stand back and watch him interact with people.  I was literally blown away at how he genuine he was when he interacted with people.   The moment that stood out the most was in my second year, I didn’t get to walk around with him and his family on the golf course as I was helping the kids around the course, but Tebow’s dad came up to me on the course and hugged me.”

“He says to me as he hugged me — “I’m so glad you’re back this year.”  I was surprised that he sincerely remembered who I was.  I remember Tebow’s mom asking me about my kids and asking me how they were.  I just remembered wondering how it was that that these people, as many people as they consistently meet, how is it that they remember who I was?   But they did and Tebow was no different. I admire Tebow mainly because he is what I want to be more like as I try very hard to love people regardless of who they are.  I’ve never seen color, I’ve never seen class — I’ve always just seen people, that’s it.  I want to be able to love people the same way I watch Tebow love people.”

As a mother of two, Brinda understands the importance of understanding and teaching the philosophy of selfishly helping others.  Brinda has tried to share this with her kids over the years, but has been the victim of her own self doubt and self attached guilt for doing what she loves while raising her kids.

Brinda with her daughter Courtney who is in the Coast Guard.

Brinda with her daughter Courtney who is in the Coast Guard.

“I’m a very proud to be a mother of two wonderful kids,” Brinda smiles sincerely as she mentions them.  “My son is in the Navy and is stationed in Virginia.  My daughter is in the Coast Guard down in Key West so both are in the military.”

“Almost twenty years ago when I turned thirty years of age — I remember waking up one morning not even sure who I was.  I was still married at the time and I remembered asking myself — “Are you making a difference? Are you doing anything? Are you making an impact on these kid’s lives outside of being their mom?”

“As a single mom, I raised them by myself from ages seven and four.  I immediately began guiding their attention into doing things for others.  There were times they helped me help others. There were times they would stuff the green bags for others or simply helped in any way that can.  Because of this, I suffered from so much mom guilt.  Guilt from being at a meeting on how we can raise fresh water wells in Kenya while one of my kids were at home needing help with their math homework.”

“I remember feeling so much guilt because of the time that I found myself being away from my kids — trying to make a difference.  And it wasn’t until my son was back home and we were at the beach having a conversation.  I shared with him my feeling of guilt — that mom guilt.  I told him that I felt bad that I was always involved in stuff and how I felt I missed a lot as being their mother.”

“And he says to me — “Mom, I think it was really good for us to see you doing those types of things.  It was great for us to see you caring for other people, people that you’ve never met, caring for them the way you were.  I think that was important for us to see.”

Brinda with her son Cody his is in the Navy and stationed in Virginia.

Brinda with her son Cody who is in the Navy and stationed in Virginia Beach.

“Yes, both of them are in the military — An establishment which predicates its underlining philosophy and base core values on helping others and I asked him if I could take credit for them deciding to go that route and he tells me — “Actually you can and you should.  You led the way for us, you were a wonderful example for us and we’re proud of that.”

“Hearing him say those words to me,” Brinda whispers emotionally, “Allowed me let go of all that mommy guilt that I was hanging on to for such a long time. It allowed to feel better about the times that I wasn’t there because I was elsewhere trying to make a difference.  I’m extremely proud of both of them and I think they know that. Right now, my daughter Courtney is expecting my first grand child so that feeling in itself is more surreal as any sunrise that I’ve experienced in all my years of running underneath them.”

Tim Tebow and David Nelson, as mentioned earlier, have both dedicated their lives to the well being of others.  Their charities offer hope and and beacon of light on issues and plights that so many around the world have suffered from. They have focused their efforts on Haiti and have been successful in Haiti relief and orphan efforts over the years.

Partnering up with both of their charities has given Brinda an opportunity to establish a relationship with well known athletes who put everything else before themselves and that is something Brinda holds in high regards and cherishes.  Brinda met David Nelson one year while volunteering with the Tim Tebow foundation.

Like Tebow, Brinda immediately recognized how genuine David and his brother Patrick were around strangers.  She noticed how they sincerely wanted to help those around them — something that she easily gravitated towards and it was something that help establish their relationship.

Brinda and David Nelson have both dedicated their lives to helping others.

Brinda and former Gators WR David Nelson have both dedicated their lives to helping others.

“I met David during my first year volunteering at the Tim Tebow foundation.   Shortly after meeting him, he launched his “I’m Me” project.  I had an opportunity to write for “Fan IQ” and I wrote a piece about him being a role model.  It was the year I did the series on role models in the NFL.”

“It was shortly after I did that piece on Nelson while at a charity gold tournament, his brother Patrick expressed his gratitude for my telling of David’s story, but after he hugged he looked me in my eyes and told me that it was now time for me to tell my own story.

“It was that moment they invited me to Haiti and that very next month, I was in Haiti.  I watched these guys sincerely embrace and love that Haiti community. I went to feeding programs with them, talked to orphans living on the streets.  Hungry kids on the street that we fed touched us in ways that I’d couldn’t have imagined.  It felt good to be apart of that and help them in any way that I could.  They are just two guys that have genuine hearts and its not an act.  They aren’t getting anything from all that they do except the reward of knowing that they’ve made a life much better than it was before meeting them.  This is why I love helping them.”

It was after that trip to Haiti when Brinda decided to run to help raise money for Tebow’s and Nelson’s respective charities but last year she unfortunately came down with pneumonia so she was unable to participate in the respective marathon.  Brinda holds on to something that David’s brother Pat shared with her while in Haiti that helped her get a better understanding of her purpose, a purpose that can fall under the shadow of doubt when suffering set backs.

“Pat told me while in Haiti,” she says behind a smile. “That I was a mom to hundreds and that what we were doing over there in Haiti was what I was suppose to be doing.  When he said that to me, it made me smile as I knew it was true.  I feel this sense of responsibility in seeing that what these guys do to help all they set out to help is attainable and reachable.  When Tim got cut by the Jets I seriously felt like he wouldn’t have enough money to help these kids — I, for some reason, immediately felt that responsibility.  Its weird but it was the way I felt.   I felt the same way when David Nelson was cut, I immediately wanted to know what I could do to help as I didn’t want their dream to die. I didn’t want it to lose momentum.  I immediately felt the responsibility to do something, anything.”

Brinda runs under the sun for everything that is more than what she sees.  She runs for all that she holds dear and she runs to make a better world for people she’s met and haven’t met alike.  In the next calendar year, Brinda will be training for the marathon.  She’s trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. After suffering from a few injuries, her training was set back until after the first of the year.  Brinda is committed to making this goal come to fruition and there’s nothing that will likely come in-between her and that goal.  Brinda’s determination, her will and dedication will get her across that finish line and we all should be so lucky to ever cross our finish lines while positively impacting so many lives along the way.

The Tim Tebow foundation.

David Nelson’s “I’m ME” org.


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