Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beautiful Compromise

Some people love to run, and many of them look attractive while doing it. I am not in either of those categories!
Today was my 5k and it was an emotional experience.
When I first got to the starting line, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people in the street, more than 2,000 runners and all their supporters. I made sure to take some ibuprofen and wrap my knee for good measure, but I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to walk or run it.
As I stood among the other runners, waiting for the race to begin, one of my favorite DJ's from a local radio station came over the speakers and said something inspirational, then started playing the song, Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. I felt so much pride well up in me, I felt so proud to be in that moment, acting on life instead of just watching. That was the first time of many that I teared up with emotion. I thought about my dear friend who passed and I knew I couldn't just walk this, my final run. It was 72 degrees and extremely sunny, but I did my best not to let the heat get to me. There were people lining the streets with signs that really motivated me. One said, "I'm so proud of you, perfect stranger. ". Another said, never lose, simply run.". And there were funny ones like the parent who made a sign that read,"Abby, run like you stole Beiber!". Near the finish line, that parent had another sign saying just kidding! There were signs that told someone that they were someone's hero, and a lot of shirts with "I'm running for -----" statements.
I think I ran approximately half of it, the full first mile, then intervals of walking/running. The photo is of me nearing the finish line. In a way I thought it was a cop-out for some of us who walked a lot, but then turned it up at the end. Then I realized, there are a lot of people who never even get to the starting line, much less the finish line. There were people who were much older, children, crippled, heavier than me, and many, many taped, wrapped and stabilized knees. There were people whose faces looked lobster-esque from the heat, and some getting sick, many people who crossed the finish line limping. When I finally got to that magical finish line, I thought to myself, I did what I could. I compromised so that my mind and body could experience what will be a very memorable event for me, for years to come. And the emotion, the pride and the triumph meant so much to me that my finishing time was of little significance in comparison, but I do feel pretty satisfied that I finished 30 seconds faster than last year's attempt, where I ran the whole way.
All in all, I'm happy I finally saw the light about this challenge, I was thinking in black and white, thinking I either had to run or walk the whole thing. My mind, body and especially my knees are grateful for the compromise. Now on to healing!

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