They Were Everywhere!
In a previous blog post, I wrote the following about an upcoming 5K:
“My next one will be September 8. That is five years to the day
that I lost nearly all my possessions in a flood. It just seemed like an extra way to give that a proverbial kick in the pants and to live strong.”
As I write, today is that day, and I have just finished. It was amazing! There were people everywhere, lining the path and cheering me on. Some were strangers, and others have been a pivotal part of my life. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let me play some video and describe what’s happening.
See that uncertain-looking person wearing the turquoise shirt? No, not that one. That person over there, that one who doesn’t look like a runner. That’s me, and I’m ready to go, I guess. I’m not particularly feeling the joy of just getting out there and moving my body, but I’m doing it. This is the day the 5K is scheduled, and I’d really like to finish well. For me, this means shaving at least a little off my time.
I’m especially lucky to participate in this particular event. They’ve even got live music. Funny, but much of it sounds like the stuff on my Workout playlist. Anyway, The first group is a bunch of guys, singing acappella. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it’s got a good rhythm, and it does work, especially when they add clapping. Next, there’s this fun march – it’s a mix of “76 Trombones” and “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Who doesn’t find it easy to move to a march, right? By the end of that one, I’m already starting to falter. Did I mention that this was one of those days where moving for it’s own joy really wasn’t doing it for me? I knew that something had to change. I knew I could do it physically, but my attitude was going to hold me back if I wasn’t careful. And that’s when my day turned from ordinary to amazing.
Ooh, look at that face on me! Scary isn’t it? I’ll be lucky if it doesn’t stay that way. But it doesn’t. I break into a smile as I see my dad. It’s his birthday today, so he’s on my mind. “Happy birthday, Dad. What are you doing here? And Mom too? Wow!”
I keep on going, and there’s a really fun thing happening. The upbeat music is now being played by a family, all of whom play various stringed instruments. But when any of them has a rest in the music, they’re high-fiving the runners. You can just tell they’re cheering us on.
There are all kinds of strangers lining the way. Look at that little girl! She can’t be more than four. She’s jumping up and down, pigtails flying, and yelling, “Go Mama, go!” I’m obviously not her mom, but I feel encouraged anyway.
Next, there are two people, standing side by side, who I hoped never to see again. The first is my gym teacher during fourth and fifth grade. She seemed to find reasons I should sit out of nearly everything. And next to her is one of many bullies who populated my elementary school existence. It doesn’t look like he’s changed at all, as he sticks out a leg to trip me. I avoid the impulse to make rude gestures, wave at the gym teacher, and jump effortlessly over the bully’s outstretched leg. That alone is enough to keep me moving, and yes, I’m definitely smiling.
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that this particular video is not playing on some screen, but in my imagination. That whole jumping over the leg that’s meant to trip me… I don’t really see that one ever happening, but it’s fun to dream.
I encountered many more people along my walk, most of whom loved and supported me, and a few who did not. Most are living, but some live on in my memory. I even came upon my future self. She simply said, “Move for me, even when you don’t feel like it. You’ll be so glad you did.”My physical environment didn’t change at all, but changing my mind changed everything. When times are difficult, or simply less than ideal, we can find strength from those who have encouraged us in the past. We can use our talent and creativity to find the motivation to keep going, regardless of the situation in which we find ourselves.
Oh, in case you’re wondering, I decreased my time by 1 minute, 36 seconds, and I truly feel I owe those positive results not only to hard work, but to those who have cheered me on in the past so I could move forward in the future.
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