A few weeks ago, I participated in my first race since Girls Best Friend. It was just a 5k, but I have been sucking on running lately, at least running distance in any one stretch without walking at all. But that is another story. I signed up to run this race with my friend Laurie.
It was said to be a rather neat race 1. because of the # of charities involved. Instead of it being geared towards one specific charity, you could name your own charity when you signed up! 2. The finish line was on the 50 Yard line of the U of M Big House! As you cross the finish line, a live video feed is played on the jumbo tron of you finishing!
As Laurie and I headed into this, neither of us felt 100% prepared so we agreed that today is about pure fun. The love of running. Time is not a factor and we would finish together!
Ahem! Laurie has not run with me since my very beginning days of running when I couldn’t go 100 yards on a track! So I am not sure she realized how slow of a run it would be when she agreed to this. After a short bit, I released her from her agreement or tried to anyway. She refused and ran the whole way with me. Such fun!
In all it was a very fun race. I did have to walk some but it is all good. WHen I ran, I ran faster than previous, so it is all progress.
Now, I hesitate to say this next part because Adam might kill me…but I have always been about honesty here. I am not a huge football fan. I cheer for U of M when they play simply because Adam does and I know nothing different. So while I thought it kinda cool that we would be ending on the 50 yard line after running through the tunnel, I was surprised by the energy and nostalgia that overcame me as Laurie and I entered the tunnel to the sound of the fight song blaring and to the unison clapping of some rather cute college boys who lined the entrance. We burst out of the tunnel with renewed energy and headed towards the end zone where we would then run the final 50 yards and cross the finish line! as we entered the stadium via the tunnel, I was taken aback by the enormity of the stadium and can now understand why they call it the “Big House”.
Early on in the run, we had to climb this big hill that Laurie tried to convince me wasn’t big at all. She lies. The down part of this hill didn’t come until much later in the run when we were on our way back towards the stadium. I was not quite prepared for a downhill.
I was running along with Laurie and some college boys were hollering and trying to get runners to holler with them. I, being me, accepted the challenge. The raised their fists and yelled and I did it right back. We volleyed back and forth like this a few times. It was quite energizing. My pace picked up, I was smiling, I felt like I could run forever!
Umm yeah…that hill??? As I hollered back and forth with the boys, I realized suddenly I was on a pretty big downhill and I had not braced myself for it. I picked up speed and pretty quickly, I was a runaway train on this road to the Big House! Instead of yelling back at the boys, I started yelling that I was out of control…that I couldn’t stop…but most importantly, to get out of my way!! I had to dodge people and kids and go up on the sidewalk to avoid running people over or killing a kid!
All the way, people started cheering me on. Laurie is takin pictures. The college boys think this is awesome! Keep going! You got this! they all said. Ummm no, this is out of control running! I got nothing. If I biff it…it is gonna hurt! Bad!!!
It seemed that hill was evened out for a long time before I finally slowed down and could walk again for a hot minute!
It was a ridonkulous stretch, but man was it fun!
Shortly after this stretch I was at a more reasonable pace when Laurie and I passed a girl walking. She was with another girl who seemed to be encouraging her along and from what I gathered from the little bit I heard. THis was her first race and she was in need of encouragement. In that moment, this is what I noticed most. 1. This girl was quite a bit bigger than I. 2. She had obviously made a choice to do something to change that. 3. She was doing it. 4. I was inspired. If she can be out here walking this thing, I can certainly keep going in my journey. (Mind you this race was right on the heels of my latest meltdown that left me almost quitting) I needed to be inspired.
I looked at Laurie as we passed and said ” Let’s finish as soon as possible, because I am going back for her!”
So we ran out the last mile. WHile I thoroughly enjoyed the tunnel and the field and the Big House, this girl was still out there and this is what I thought. None of those thin people who are with her, know what it is like to be our size doing something like this. I need to go out there and let her know that her presence had inspired me. So I crossed the finish line and turned right around and ran back out through the tunnel and along the race route.
As I headed out, I saw this girl and she now had several people with her. I ran right up to her and started walking backwards.
“Hi, What is your Name?”
“Kyra”, she says.
“Kyra, I saw you out here and I know what it takes to get out here and I have to tell you, you have inspired me today.”
I told her some other things, but that is the basics.
I also met her trainer, Demond. And I later learned that she DID have people around her that would understand. Darrel from Season 9 of TBL was there with her too. She had a whole team of people around her in fact, who I have since learned are absolutely amazing, but more about them later. This is about Kyra.
Kyra, is amazing. She has the most amazing smile that just lights up the world. I kid you not! She is 19 years old and is making big decisions in her life that will only bring more life to her. I am excited to get to know her more and to journey with her. We both have a long way to go!
Photos coming soon….