I woke up this morning right before dad knocked on my door to let me know that the weather was in the 40's and that it might rain all morning. (I think he was thinking about not running, but don't tell him that). Anyways, we got dressed, drank some accelerade(dad's new favorite energy drink), got our extra layers on...I got my ipod all hooked up and we were off.
This is our third year to run the Gennesaret's 4-mile for the Homeless on Thanksgiving.
Gennesaret is an all-volunteer nonprofit that shelters homeless families and feeds the poor in Akron, Ohio since 1986. This is their yearly fundraiser - in it's 16th year and about 1500 runners participated last year! I think it is a great event!
The first year we ran, it was myself, dad and our friend Brandon. And that was the year we got to run in a blizzard and I was covered with ice by the time we finished. That was a crazy morning!
Last year, my sister,Julia, and her husband, some of his family and her friend Kate joined us and it couldn't have been better weather for a run.
Today - all the people from last year were there plus my cousin Ana and about 6 more family members and friends. We stood outside for about 20 minutes trying to stay warm as it sprinkled on us off and on. At 9:00 a.m. we immediately separated and I started off behind most everyone else with a nice slow jog. I was going to run my intervals today, a 5 minute run with a 1 minute walk, but once I started running I decided to just keep running. I felt pretty good throughout the run. I love the hills - I don't know if it's cause of all the hiking but I get energized when I run up hills and then I s-l-o-w down going down the hills...I am so cautious about how and where my foot is striking the ground that anyone I might have passed on the way up, can pass me easily on the other side. Both of my feet held up pretty well till I got to mile 3 and then they both ached a bit. I was also feeling a little hungry and weak because I came up the last big hill but I was quickly distracted from the pain when I passed Ana and happened to look over and see her. I said, "Hi kiddo", and asked her how she was doing. She had said she almost threw up after coming up the last big hill but that she was feeling better. I offered her some of my "Fulfill" which is Walmart's version of Propel and then she asked if she could finish the run with me. So we chatted as we came around the last corner and could see the time counting down the minutes. So we picked up our pace and I felt great. With "Living on a Prayer" playing through my ipod, we finished our 4 mile race together. This was Ana's first race ever and my second one since my right foot surgery 3 months ago.
It wasn't my best time but I am still proud of the run. I also love the tradition of running with my family and with Paul and Julia's friends...
I don't know if I can explain how I feel when I run. But I love it. I love being out there with other people who have both trained and haven't trained. There are people encouraging others and some just want their music to keep them company. But I have learned over the years - that even if I don't feel like I can finish - ever race will end at some time...and all I have to do is take one step at a time and then rest later.