As the waves past and the runners dwindled there was one man who stole our hearts. This man was probably in his 60's or so and was doing the entire race on crutches. Yes, crutches. Luckily for us we would get to see all of these brave souls a second time as they passed our aid station again on their loop back to the finish line. As that same runner approached our table on his way back we all erupted in cheers. Being in the presence of this unconquerable soul was truly awe inspiring and even brought a few of us to tears. Despite what I can only imagine to be an intense amount of pain and agony, he still had a smile on his face. I understand that smile, it's the look that says "don't worry, I got this". It was in that moment that I promised myself to return to this same race next year and leave all my fears and doubts behind me to just the job done.
|Pre-race with Juan, my running big brother
|My Team Perl family
When I approached my company's aid station the first time I was still in pretty high spirits. I felt the pain, but it was manageable. I hugged a few co-workers and trotted along down the course. After hitting the turn and coming back around my heart started to drop. I began to doubt myself and wonder if I really had it in me to finish this thing. I was walking up to my coworkers handing out water when I remember that fierce old man, crutching his way along and I knew there was no other option. I simply couldn't give up, even if I had to walk the whole way back, I needed to finish. I'm blessed with some amazing colleagues who are more than just friends or coworkers, some of them are like family. They encouraged me and one of them even jumped in and decided to finish the race with me. We walked and ran the last few miles together and I'll forever be grateful to him for helping me through. As we approached the finish line a wave of relief washed over me. It was finally over. It wasn't a great race, and definitely not a pretty one. But I finished. And sometimes, that's all you need.
|Post Race goodies!