|Bad, bad bouncy ball mishap|
"Are you going to let her run by herself?" I questioned.
"No. She's so young. I am heartbroken that my injury is keeping Emily from her dream."
"Well, how about I run with her in your place? Do you think she would like that?"
"Yes!" And, so it was. I would be the substitute mom to accompany Emily on her journey along the Dan River.
|Before the race begins|
Off we went, making a short mile and a half journey to the south before retracing our steps to continue to the north. "You okay? Be sure to let me know if we need to back off." When she assured me she was happy, we followed the crowd along the tree-lined path. We even tried our hand at capturing leaves fluttering down from above. All was well.
I took great joy in telling everyone along the way about Emily. "Can you believe she is a sixth-grader and doing so well?" All were amazed and encouraging. As the miles ticked off, I also enjoyed talking with everyone I could. It gave Emily someone else to listen to other than my running mouth.
At each aid station, I suggested what Emily should eat and drink. She readily complied. But when we got to the four mile hilly loop, she told me about developing blisters. A helpful volunteer pulled out some band-aids and we applied them to her foot. There is nothing worse than thinking about aching feet with more miles to run. With the repair completed, we continued on our journey.
With the loop checked off, we had but four miles to the finish. "Emily, on a scale of one to ten, how bad are you hurting?"
"Hum. About a five, I guess" was her response.
Smiling, I said, "Well, good, you have plenty of room to suffer." She grinned but kept running. No complaints. No whining. Just forward motion.
Twice more, I asked her for a number. Seven and seven and a half were the answers. After that, I stopped asking fearing the fun meter was running out. Instead, I said "Em, let's try to keep ahead of the guy behind us and catch that woman up ahead." She gave it all she had.
|Emily and Rebekah nearing the finish|
Thank you, Christy and Emily, for allowing me to share in your day. It was my utmost privilege to be a substitute.