The air was crisp and the sun brightening this morning as I left -- not for my work at WW, but for a special event. It's a long story, but to sum up, I was asked to please come share my story as part of the 3rd Annual Tigerville Trot 5K.
Tigerville SC is a small town in the northern part of the adjoining county. It is home to a small university (NCAA Div II), and families looking to live outside the bustle of the main towns of the county. Outside an Einstein Brothers Bagel shop, I didn't see any fast-food place for quite a while. It's about 10 miles or so to the town my best friend lives in, about 8 from the nearest Wally World, and it's a whole different world. And I mean that in the absolute nicest way possible.
The run is a great event for the kids and the town, and serves to raise additional funds for health and wellness programs at the school. Just a thought......... do not even get me started on how warped our culture's priorities are when teachers are compelled to create, plan, and host fundraisers for what should be basic and fully-funded programs. Even though I was Queen Nerd in school, I will be the first to say that there is tremendous value to the Three A's in proper balance: Academics, Athletics, Arts (another area which is all too often cut at the expense of either of the first two). But I digress......
The crispness of the morning was fading by the time we started the race, and I started out at a mild jog.... which almost immediately moved into a slower jog and then to my walking pace. I ended up way at the back of the pack. Embarrassing? Yes. Here I was supposed to come tell my story about my success, and I'm flopping like a dead mackerel on a pier. But there were plenty of reasons to celebrate:
1. The kids!!! Oh my gosh, there were lots of students there - from two different elementary schools where this teacher is assigned. And they were excited about the race. That was awesome to see. And several of them were wearing special blue shirts --- as members of the Tigerville Running Club! WOW! That was really good to see. It is thrilling to not only see teachers who are working with kids on active lifestyles, and setting the example themselves, but especially to see the kids so enthusiastic and willing to be part of this initiative.
2. The parents. THAT was awesome to see too -- not just the parents who raced along with their kids, but all of the ones who showed up for support. I saw parents and grandparents or other relatives all there to cheer them on!
3. The course itself. If not the most challenging one I've had yet, it's darn close! I laugh when I tell the story about one 5K I had that really was uphill both ways. This one had one or two slight downhills but it was either flat or uphill most of the way. For a girl who's been accustomed lately to interval training only (and only that, recently), it has inspired me to figure out a way to get in extra exercise..... But more than that, there was such beauty and peace on this route. Seriously, you are out in the middle of nowhere. The elementary school is right on the edge of town (most of the town being the university). You went down about a half-mile at most and suddenly the houses were not just further apart but WAY further apart. I passed a pasture in the first half of the race (and okay, again in the 2nd half since we made a loop) -- with a big group of black cows looking at us like "crazy humans!" On the second mile, when I got to the turn-around/water station, I took out one earbud, and it was pure silence outside. Beautiful, peaceful silence that made me pause...... well, that and the road sign. Seems I found the road that a coworker lives on! They recently moved there, and she said it was out toward that way... I had no idea how close I was!
As I was coming back, some of the kids who had run earlier were there to cheer us on.... I laughed a little and said, "Wow, didn't know I was going to be that slow...." and she said, "Yeah, but you didn't give up!" What's that verse about "out of the mouths of babes"? She was dead on. A friend in Atlanta told me before my first 5K, "It doesn't matter where you finish or when you finish -- just that you finish!" That's been my philosophy ever since, and I had just forgotten how important that is.
Then when I crossed, they gave me my time.... 48:39. The kicker? That's only 18 stinkin' seconds off my Personal Best. Can you believe that?
And I have to get my butt in gear for the Walk-It Challenge on the 22nd.