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Archive for the ‘#races’ Category

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.

A sampler of #running (and life) wisdom.

In #races, running, running quotes on May 31, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Some weeks, I just don’t have anything particularly original to say, and this is one of them.  When brain drain hits, I’m always glad to come across smart or thought-provoking things that other people say.

In the past 10 days or so, my Runnersworld.com ‘Kick in the Butt’ daily emails have brought some micro-pep talks I needed to hear as I try to jumpstart that part of my life (have been stalled by an old problem flaring up). Maybe they will kick you in the butt, too?

***

That’s the thing about running: your greatest runs are rarely measured by racing success. They are moments in time when running allows you to see how wonderful your life is.

~Kara Goucher

Relaxing with my ‘girl on the run’ after we finished the Reindeer Romp 5K last fall; a 5K race is always the culmination of the program.

Running along our journey doesn’t only teach us how to keep moving forward through what life throws at us, it also makes us into the best version of ourselves. 

~Ashley Erickson, freelance fitness writer/editor

{This quote makes me think of the wonderful Girls on the Run program my girl has been part of twice; she learned so many important life lessons from her coaches, who all volunteer their time to the program.}

Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of a runner. He learns the harsh reality of his physical and spiritual limitations when he runs. He learns that personal commitment, sacrifice and determination are his only means to betterment. Runners get promoted only through self-conquest.

~Noel Coward, English playwright

Games require skill. Running requires endurance, character, pride, physical strength, and mental toughness. Running is a test, not a game. A test of faith, belief, will, and trust in one’s self. So hardcore that it needs a category all to itself to define the pain. When game players criticize, it’s because they aren’t willing to understand, not because they’re stronger. Running is more than a sport; it’s a lifestyle. If you have to ask us why we run, you’ll never understand, so just accept.

~Jessica Propst

Running is not a private activity. People are watching. Show someone what it’s like to want something.

~Marc Parent, Runner’s World columnist

If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.

~Robert Pirsig, American writer and philosopher

What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the day gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate.

~John Bingham, running writer and speaker

Training for a race is sort of like a metaphor for life—it shows you how important goals are, it shows you how much you are capable of, it shows you the power of dedication. I’ve never run 13.1 miles, but I know I can do it. I will do it.

Ashley Cadaret, Running: A Love Story, Other Voices blog, Runner’sWorld.com

Spring has sprung on my running trail

In #races, places, run reports, running on April 14, 2012 at 12:32 am

Spring is springing along my running trail

After barely running in two weeks, it felt good to get back out on the trail on such a beautiful day.

I’ve been lax about updates to my reading/writing/running story of late, but not for lack of running milestones. In preparing for the 10K Cooper River Bridge Run (March 31st), twice, I ran my longest distance ever (7 miles), and my knees survived that distance (I only limped for an hour or two). For me, covering 7 miles may as well have been a marathon. I had to slow down for a few walking breaks along the way (especially on the hills), but I’ll take it.

I was gratified to find that I can notch up my distance (as long as I do it slowly) without paying the price with knee pain or injury. Beyond that, going 7 miles took me to an entirely new area of the trail where I run, and it was beautiful.

I made it through the Bridge Run, too (6.2 miles). It started an hour late, I had no time for caffeine (this is a problem for an addict like me), and thanks to the delay, the sun was higher and the temperature much warmer. In the end, I was slow and my race was not too pretty (walked more than I’d hoped), but it was a beautiful morning, and I had the company of an upbeat, supportive friend (a “real” runner who is usually very fast and competitive, but hung back with me due to an injury); he was kind enough not to poke fun at my turtle-like pace.

And best of all, my 10-year-old was waiting at the finish line, as proud of me as if I had just run the New York City Marathon.

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