notes

Remembering joyful finish lines

In #races, running on April 17, 2013 at 10:46 am

When I heard about Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy who was killed by one of the bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon, the first thought that crossed my mind was that he may have been there to cheer on one of his parents.

As it turned out, that’s exactly why Martin and his family (his mother and sister were gravely injured by the blast, but survived) were there – they were waiting to cheer his dad across the finish line.

This struck a chord with me because of my joyful experiences cheering and being cheered across a finish line over the past several years. It was hard to imagine such a happy milestone turning to horror as theirs did.

In the spirit of counting blessings and honoring the importance of finish line reunions (which we can take for granted most of the time, thankfully), and in honor of the Richard family, I wanted to share two short stories-via-snapshots of the two joyful finish line moments I shared with my daughter not long ago.

Finish Line 1 [aka, ‘You can teach a middle-aged dog new tricks’]

Early one Saturday morning in November 2010, my daughter and I headed across town so I could check a huge item off of my Life Ambition List: Making my status as a  “real”/bonafide runner official. (For me, this meant being someone who actually enjoys running, does it regularly and can run well enough to sign up/run races).

Since August, I had been slogging, sometimes painfully, through a great 5K training program called No Boundaries (you can try it, too; Fleet Feet Raleigh and New Balance offer it several times a year). I couldn’t believe I made it through the whole program without my lungs exploding – or without quitting. That morning, my fellow trainees and I would cap off our many training runs by running a race together: A charity 5K raising money for lung cancer research.

Here is the story through my then-9-year-old daughter’s eyes as she chronicled my first 5K:

My girl captures my race start...

My girl captures my race start…

… then snaps a photo of me coming into view at the end, with my training program running buddy just ahead of me and my Marine Corps barker right beside me.

... and she kept snapping as I passed by her and the rest of my support team.

… and she kept snapping as I passed by her and the rest of my cheering section.

... and finally, my biggest supporter was captured as she snapped a photo of me crossing the finish line.

… and finally, a friend managed to capture a photo of my biggest supporter as she snapped a photo of me crossing the finish line!

Afterward, we were both as happy as if I had run a marathon ...

Afterward, I was as happy as if I had run a marathon, and my girl told me over and over how proud she was of me. She high-fived me for running the whole way without stopping to walk (I wasn’t sure I’d pull that off earlier that morning). She knew this program had been a long, hard road for her non-athletic mom.

Finish Line 2: My ‘Girl on the Run’

Several months later in April 2011, the tables were turned, and it was my daughter’s turn to run her first 5K as the culmination of an amazing, inspiring program called Girls on the Run (please take a minute and read more about GOTR here). Her dad was her running partner that day, and I was the photographer and cheerleader.

Capturing the official start, ready to look for my girl in the crowd...

Capturing the official start, ready to look for my girl in the crowd…

Found her!  (I have blurred the faces of other kids in most of these photos if they're looking directly into the camera; don't think it's my place to post recognizable photos of other parents' kids).

Found her!
(I have blurred the faces of other kids in most of these photos if they’re looking directly into the camera; don’t think it’s my place to post recognizable photos of other parents’ kids.)

My favorite moment of the day: Girls who had finished made a welcome arch for their fellow runners as they approached the finish line.
My favorite moment of the day: Girls who had finished made a welcome arch for their fellow runners as they approached the finish line.

Final sprint to the finish line...

Final sprint to the finish line…

A hug from one of her amazing Girls on the Run coaches ...

A hug from one of her amazing Girls on the Run coaches …

During a team photo, my girl examined her medal with an awe no less intense than if she had won a gold medal at the Olympics.

During a team photo, my girl examined her medal with an awe no less intense than if she had won a gold medal at the Olympics.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Honoring Viki

“I would not like to live without dancing, without unknown roads to explore, without the confidence that my actions were helpful to some.” Sam Keene

99U

Empowering the Creative Community

Brain Pickings

An inventory of the meaningful life.

E.R.Murray

Writer, reader, lover of adventures and all things outdoors.

Design of the Picture Book

the intersection of graphic design + picture books

Lost in a Book

Mother-daughter dynamic duo (covering the key 15- to 51-year-old demographic) waxes poetic about kids' books

%d bloggers like this: