Before everyone starts thinking this post is going to take a perverted turn, let me make it clear, it is not that kind of blog…..it’s a Bob Seger song that I just happen to be listening to as I write this. Plus, I found it kind of fitting today.
If you know me, you know that this past weekend I took off to Nashville with my BFF Whitney, her husband, Ryan, and a slew of other AKRowdy pals to take on the Rock N Roll Half Marathon. I’ve been waiting for this moment since January, so when the moment came to put on my race day outfit and knock out the 13.1 mile course, I was ready. Nervous, but ready. My nerves intensified as we exited the hotel to find a lovely downpour going on outside. I’ve run in the rain a multitude of times, but never like this, so I was instantly sick to my stomach. I will freely admit that I worry about ridiculous things all the time, and of course, I started to panic. What if the rain knocks the contacts out of my eyes (yes, the raindrops were that intense)??? What if my phone stopped working, and I had no music to listen to along the run???? What if I saw a frog???? Fortunately, a kind gentleman gave us some large heavy duty trash bags at the hotel that would then double as my designer overcoat for the next 13.1 miles. I did try to make it stylish by ripping an asymmetrical hem, but the reality is that we looked ridiculous. I will never ever travel without this item again…it literally was my saving grace, and I know Whit agreed: There was no way we could’ve finished the race without them. It’s all about protection, people.
While I wish I could write about all of the beautiful things and places I got to see as I ran around Nashville, I cannot. Usually a race course allows me to scope out fun dive bars, cultural landmarks, and neat restaurants, but that was pretty impossible with the rain. This run was one that required a lot of guts and grit, and my inspiration, of course, came from my father. However, as I ran soaked to the bone, I not only witnessed what I found to be the most beautiful part of the trip, but another inspirational moment that I will never forget.
When I run, I get into a zone. I just want to get the damn thing over with. Don’t talk to me, don’t touch me…just let me run. As we approached Mile 8, I felt someone tap me on the back, so I turned around and muted my headphones. It was a woman runner letting us know that a blind runner was coming up behind us. A BLIND RUNNER??? Whit and I quickly ran off to the side to make way for this runner, and sure enough there she was. The woman who tapped me was running a few paces in front of her, and another woman was running next to the blind woman with their arms linked as a means of guidance. These two women were sacrificing their own times and experience for a blind woman to achieve her dream. I have goosebumps writing about it! Then I saw something even crazier as we hit the breakaway point where the marathoners and halfers split: this woman went with the marathoners. She was running the entire 26.2 race.
As I continued my pace, the sight of this woman stayed with me. I hear complaints from people all of the time as to why they can’t/won’t run. 97.4% of the time they are garbage excuses…people are just lazy looking for an out because they are scared to fail. The hardest part of any race is having the courage to show up to the starting line, not finishing the actual race. Here this woman was, someone with a legitimate disability who not only showed up, but was running at an awesome pace without excuses. I wasn’t embarrassed that she was faster than me and passed us…I was extremely proud. Every ounce of me hoped that I would watch her cross the finish, but I didn’t get to. I can’t imagine what that moment would have been like for her, but it makes me get a little teary eyed thinking about it. You know who I did get to watch finish just ahead of us? A bladerunner. No, not Oscar Pistorius, he is too busy getting ready for jail. An average person who had special Adidas shoes hooked onto his blades who was running. Also a very cool moment I won’t soon forget.
I know that I am emotionally charged, especially with running, but nothing inspires me more that someone who is overcoming obstacles. It gives me goosebumps, makes me cry, and gives me those warm fuzzies I think of when I get down on myself. It’s the fire inside. Above all, it is just another reminder of how lucky we are and how each one of us have the power to do absolutely anything we want to. The only thing stopping us is us.
Even though we had to fight Mother Nature the entire race, it was an amazing feeling to cross the finish line next to one of my best friends. We started together, we finished together, and I am so proud of us. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. Not only did I walk away with an inspirational moment I will never forget, but I proved to myself that nothing will stop me from reaching my goals. Not even you, Mother Nature (Nice try though, but seriously, you’re a bitch).