Monday, May 26, 2014

Why Do I race?

I will never be the fastest runner in a race, but I will always strive to be faster than my last race.  Today I ran a Memorial Day 5k in Florence, Ma.  It runs through town, up a HUGE hill to the VA Hospital, then pass the hospital and back down the hill to the finish line.   Last year my time was 50 minutes and I came in last place.  It is a small race with maybe 60 people at the most.   My goal today was to not walk at all, jog up the hill, and not come in last. 

Me hanging out before the race with some awesome soldiers.

Last year when I got to the top of the hill there was no one there. I was so slow that they had already closed the water stop and everyone had gone inside.   This year there were a lot of people including about 6 Vets in Wheelchairs over by the building.  I had made it up the hill without walking and was completely out of breath, I mean close to death. The two people behind me were catching up, but there were 6 Vets out there to cheer me on, much older Vets. I just couldn't run past them.  I made a split second decision ,ran a little bit off course, took my hat off, and took a minute to shake each Vet's hand and personally thanked each of them, knowing that I might not reach all my goals for the day.   I then started my way down the hill, got passed by the last two runners, but I didn't care.  I kept trudging on and when I got on the flat at the bottom of the hill I kicked it up a notch and passed them and never looked back.

 With about a half a  mile left the next thing I know there is a soldier running with me.  She said that she wanted to run the rest of the way in with me.  She said she was impressed that I never walked on the hill and that I was pushing myself even though she could tell  it was hard.  I almost burst into tears.  That meant so much to me.  Two of my friends came back to run in with me too.  I pushed hard, finished the race, reaching all of my goals for the day. The biggest one is that I shaved 6:42 off of last year's time.  I am very happy with this outcome, but when I think of this race what I will remember most are the faces of the Vets when I stopped running and took a moment to thank them.   Why do I race?  For moments like these. 

Here I am with Airman Christina at the finish line.   She is the soldier that ran into the finish line with me. 
 Me and my Energia Peeps, and my husband, Keith, at the finish line. 
 My friends, Justin Killeen (my personal trainer) and my friend Katie Lipsmeyer.
Hubby Keith and me before the race!!!!