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Run for the ROC

Monday, September 29, 2014

Yesterday, I participated in the Run for the ROC 5K, a fundraiser for a local radiation/oncology center. I’ve done this race before and it’s always fun. It takes place on the grounds of the historic Saratoga Race Course, and it’s a unique opportunity to run through the paddocks and backstretch areas that are usually closed to the public.

Since returning from vacation, I’ve been fighting a fever just feeling generally achy…no idea why. So I knew it would be a bit of a struggle, but I still wanted to do it. The weather was much warmer than it typically is this time of year, so I knew the heat and humidity would be a factor. When I was warming up, my legs were tired and felt like I was running through mud.

The race was crowded, so I spent most of the first mile trying to find my own space. Shortly after that, my right knee started to hurt. I kept running on it, while in my head I told myself that I could keep trying to run the whole race, which would most likely knock me out of my next two races on October 11 and October 18, or I could walk a bit, and rest my knee. I opted for the walk. I would maintain a walk/run pace for the balance of the race, not always because of my knee…sometimes it was just that inner voice in my head that I can’t seem to beat. This summer, I have proven to myself over and over that I can run the whole distance, with no walk breaks. But apparently, I just can’t during a race.

The last half mile was made much easier because there was a band playing and members of the local high school football team were cheering us in. Nice! As I rounded the turn into the finish area in front of the Grandstand, I saw the time on the clock and it was better than I thought it would be. So I really began to push…until I saw the tiny hand of a child of maybe 4 or 5 reaching out, wanting to high five a runner. His mom was waiting behind him with her phone to take a picture of him high fiving someone, but everyone was running past him. So I stopped and high fived the little guy. His mom was thrilled and he was ecstatic! Even though I lost a bit of time, it gave me the final push I needed to really sprint to the finish. My official time was 36:14, less than a minute slower than the personal record from my race in August. Not bad considering the amount of time I walked.

Since the race, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the disappointment I was feeling. I already know I can do it, so why do I care that I didn’t? And I took it a bit easier because of my knee so that I know I will be able to race again in two weeks. What’s wrong with that? And, really, who cares about the finish time on the clock…I got outside on a beautiful day, and ran/walked through the race track grounds for a good cause. And I got to high five a cool little kid and made his day at the same time. What’s not to like?

The truth is, I know I will never win a race, probably not even medal in my age group, and that’s okay. That’s not why I do it. I started running to lose the last of my weight, and I continue to run to maintain my goal weight, which I’m doing.

So to that end, I guess I am a winner!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    YES, YOU ARE A WINNER! What a very nice thing to do for a little kid you didn't even know. I have a bum knee and usually run/walk by myself, but I agree with you, I am happy just to be out there. You sound like a wonderful person and you should feel very good about yourself.
    2488 days ago
    Yes, you are a winner because you reached YOUR goal of losing the weight and maintaining that weight loss, but to me you are also a winner because you made the right decisions. You decided to go for the race even if you didn't know at the start if you would be able to see it through, you decided not to knock yourself out of your next two races and instead walking part of the race, and you decided to take the time to give a little guy a precious moment that he will relive for a long time, maybe even until his own first 5K. That makes you three times a winner in my eyes.
    2489 days ago
    You are without a doubt a winner!!!!!! You did the right thing fro your knee and my goodness you made a little guys day!!!!! Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!!
    2490 days ago
    You are definitely a winner! I like the way you think. It was a positive day all the way around. That little boy is going to remember you for a very long time to come!

    2490 days ago
    Sounds like the race would be totally cool. I am glad you felt up to it. It would have been a shame to miss. I am glad you decided to walk a bit on and off. In my mind (the non-competitor) there is no need to push too hard. Great time walking or not and good of you to high 5 the poor enthusiastic child.

    YOU ARE DEFINATELY A WINNER... in soooooo many ways!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon m
    2490 days ago
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