Saturday, November 14, 2009
"Uh-oh. I thought you said pick-up was until 11:00 p.m.," I blurted out to the leader of the pack. Oops. Though exceptionally organized for this adventure, she had the wrong 11:00 in her brain. It happens. We asked for the afterburners to be cranked up on the pizza ovens and inhaled the food as soon as it hit the table. A GPS phone calculated a twenty-minute drive to the convention center. We headed out at 8:10 p.m.
But as these things go, a few missed turns changed the mood from frivolous to deafening anxiety when faced with the possibility of missing their first race simply because they weren't there in time to pick up race numbers. And on top of that, the two cars got separated, neither having any better luck at finding the stealthy building. We prayed for red lights to turn green; for the GPS to shout out "Approaching destination." At last, we spied the center and those in my car jumped out as we pulled up to a red light. They made it by three minutes. The occupants of the other car pushed the deadline even closer. But by the end of the night, all had bib numbers in hand. The mood relaxed.
Now, the reality of running 26.2 has set in. All were successful in completing the distance and have stories to tell; chafing, bathroom emergencies, loudly protesting muscles, and frustrations of getting beat to the finish by a guy in a pink tutu and fat "old" women in leopard outfits (read that women in their 30s). But they all seized the day and I could not be more proud of this group of neophyte runners. It was just a few short months ago that the mere thought of running a few miles was a challenge. Now, after weeks of training and long runs through the mountains of Virginia, they achieved their goals and conquered the distance. Their success can be contributed to what they wrote (and believed) on their hand-made t-shirts: "You can do more than you think you can," a notable quote by Dr. David Horton, ultrarunning king.
Get involved in the lives of younger runners. It will motivate and inspire you and maybe, just maybe, you can impact their lives in some small way.