So some of us were at this last Marathon in Los Angeles just yesterday…Sunday, March 6th, 2005. Last year I went partly to cheer on some coworkers running and also to cheer on some BTC superstars that ran the full 26.2 miles.
I used to run in high school. I loved running ever since I was…wow…could be before kindergarten. I wasn’t a jogger at first. I would sprint. I did this in Jr. High. The P.E. coach asked me to compete. In high school, I joined the track team and then cross country, but my love was still sprinting. I competed in mile relays, 100 yd dashes, 200m, 440 relays, and 330 hurdles. Before I knew it, I was invited to invitationals every weekend with other students and received medals, and my junior year, I lettered in track and all that jazz. I was very close to making CIF…which is where the best runners compete in all of California. In the finals, I got a second or two less than the rest of my four team members in the mile relay and my coach had a talk with me. I let him talk me out of running the mile relay. Basically, I competed others to see if I could still be in this race, but I lost all steam and just lagged…not feeling like such a fast runner anymore. I let this experience stick with me. I could have run in college, but skipped it. I regretted it, until I started running with some kids I work with and their teachers. To see them run inspired me and I started running again. I didn’t realize what a block I had. I trained for the marathon last year, but my knee wasn’t feeling good, so I stopped…only to find out that I just didn’t have the right shoes or shoe inserts and that was making my knee, hip hurt.
So back to service:) I remember distinctly how important it was to have people root me on while running. It made all the difference because there are so many thoughts that go through a runner’s head…sometimes you don’t know if you’ll make it through a course and there are a thousand self defeating thoughts that barrage you. To stop these thoughts from coming through, I would often think of songs and sometimes other runners and I would even sing silly songs outloud to keep going. There are a variety of tactics, but one of the best things to experience is someone calling out for you…and encouraging you along. It gets you out of your current state of affairs…which could include a thought such as…am I crazy? How could I think of running this? Who signed up for this race…surely not me!
Yesterday at the marathon, I saw other volunteers I know and think highly of and I saw how they gave to others…simply by handing out water at the mile 22 water station and cheering others on. To see the runners pass by us and to see some look at us with such gratitude…and who even said…thanks for being here. Even the runners who didn’t make eye contact or thank us….they were making it through and maybe just smiled or gave a thumbs up…who can speak after 22 miles, that’s what I’d like to know!
All the volunteers beyond Be the Cause, I’m so thankful for all of you…for giving extraordinary acts of kindness…medical relief, passing out water, giving high fives…these are all awe-inspiring feats.
And runners, thank you for inspiring me once again. We’ll see where my running takes me. If it’s a race or jog….I will always remember all the runners I saw this year and last year’s brave souls.