This has been an upsetting week for the running community and for the country as a whole. The tragic events in Boston shake our collective belief that we are safe, that our families and friends are safe. And for many of us, we begin to wonder if the eternal battle of good versus evil is really a battle at all. I spent most of my Monday evening crying, an hour of it running in silence and the rest of the week trying to make sense of it all. My heart ached for the city of Boston as they remained on lock down yesterday while police worked to find the men guilty of these crimes. I’m thrilled that the police were successful, but saddened that an officer lost his life in those efforts. Now, as we all mourn together and begin to heal together, I want to continue to celebrate the good. I’m going to keep running. I’m going to run for good. I’m going to stop making my running about escaping from life and start making it about finding life, adventure and hope.
The Reaching for Recovery 5K last Sunday took place before Monday’s attacks, but it is an excellent example of what good the running community can do when it comes together. My neighbor, Mike, helped to organize this race to benefit a local family in our school district. Their son, Ryan, is battling a congenital brain condition that has required him to be in and out of the hospital and to have multiple surgeries over the past year. His family shares updates on his condition at their Facebook page, and I’ve been following their battle over the past few months. When Mike invited me to the race, I was happy to join and my daughter and I decided we would make this her first 5K. Hannah and I trained over the past 6 weeks using the Couch to 5K plan to get her ready. I’ve enjoyed our runs, especially when she’s got some juice left in the tank and speeds ahead of me in the last few seconds. Sunday morning, I headed out for an early 14 miles then came home, picked up the family and headed to Penitentiary Glen, a beautiful park with a rather dismal name (which came from a large gully which is easy to get in to, not so easy to get out of).
We kept warm near a large fire outside of the picnic shelter and then got race directions from our fearless leader. Hannah and I posed for our before shot before heading out!
Mike, a trail runner at heart, designed a fun, technical course for us. How technical? Check it out:
Hannah and I took it nice and slow, and as she tired, I had a few brain games for us to play to keep her going. We named our favorite foods in alphabetical order, took turns naming animals with all letters of the alphabet and chatted about how good the food would taste at the finish. As we came in to the home stretch and I told her that we only had about .2 miles left, she took off. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I finished shortly after her and we celebrated with bagels, cookies and other delicious treats!
Finally, we documented our muddiness and went home for some much-needed rest. I’m proud of Hannah, proud that her first race was for charity. I’m proud that she’s joined this community, and I hope she’ll keep running, keep kicking when she gets close to the finish line, keep leaving me in the dust. I hope she runs towards life, towards adventure, towards hope.