Yesterday, March 15th, 2014, Justin and I completed the largest 15K in the United States, the Gate River Run. This is an amazing run. The run starts in Downtown Jacksonville, heads over two bridges, then ends at Everbank Field (home to the Jacksonville, Jaguars). Training for this race was difficult. Justin and I are both very busy so weekends were my only option. I had done 9 miles twice before the race, so I thought I was ready.
Justin's grandfather is a Streaker (not the one you are thinking). A River Run Streaker is a person who has run the race every year since it began in 1978. His grandfather will be 80 years old in April and he, once again, completed the River Run. I know that it is an honor for him to have his son, grandson, granddaughter, granddaughter-in-law all in the race...and this year his great-grandson completed the Jr. River Run....all by his side supporting him. When Streakers ran passed us and saw our shirts that said, "We run because he streaks," a sense of pride and honor filled our hearts. One man, who was running by, told us he was one River Run away from being a Streaker because the first race he was in Vietnam. I could not help but to yell, "thank you!"
Running is MY escape time. It is my time to get away from our crazy schedule and have "me time." When I train for a long race I can immediately tell whether or not it is going to be a good run. Those of you who run know what I mean. Another thing that makes or breaks my run is my brain. This might sound silly, but my brain can completely control my entire run. Most of the time when I am at about mile 6, my head will say things like, "Just walk! You are getting more exercise because it will take you longer...enjoy some sunshine." It might say, "stop until you get to _______ point, then you can pick it up again." It is crazy how powerful our minds are.
Yesterday there were 20,000 runners registered for the River Run. The entire 9.3 miles is lined up with thousands of people cheering the runners on. Another powerful point for my brain was to see these eyes on me. It was amazing to see faces that I knew cheering ME on. It motivated me to go! Hearing people yell my name or pass out water, oranges, throwing donut holes, or even sausages and beer...these people kept me running!
This is such a fun run. The most inspiring thing to get me through the race is to see my kids' faces at the last turn of the race. I know they are there waiting for me and I know that when I see their faces I am almost through! When I am tired I think of them.
This year, Macaiden did his first Jr. River Run race! It began at 11:00am. I knew that I had to finish at a certain time so I could get to his race on time. I had to finish so I would have enough time to get to him, make sure he was safe... and get to his finish line. Well...it was kind of crazy getting to him. I saw Maddie and Macaiden's sweet faces, and I knew they were in good hands, but I could not get to Macaiden before the start of his race. Their grandmother pulled through and got my little man to the starting line! I saw him take off and he finished his first mile race in 5:33!!!!! He completed it.... and in a time that I still can't believe.
I say all this because....I have to ask myself..... what race am I wanting to win each day? Is the race that I am running worth it to me? Once I finish the race I am on...am I ready for the next? I have spectators and eyes that are watching me from every angle...just like this owl. Am I cheering my kids on their race?....I know theirs are about to get harder than mine. I can be their spectator and cheer them on when things get really hard and when things get even harder and they make the right decision with a thousand eyes watching them, I can be that one pair of eyes that meets them at their finish line and tells them how proud I am of them. It might not matter to them now, but I know that it will one day.
My Repurpose for today : Make sure the race I am running is worth the sweat, pain, and each step. Eyes are watching from every angle.
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