Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Joy of Running and Racing

Jaime Jackson
July 7, 2015
I really can think of no other event where it truly does not matter if you come in first place, 100th place or last place. The true joy and exhilaration of the running race is having the courage to get to the starting line and competing within yourself, whether it be against the clock, or just getting to that magnificent looking finish banner.
I have always enjoyed running races. Although I rarely come home, if ever, with a medal or some sort of award, (only in the sparsely attend events, lol) that has really never mattered. For those who ever participated in a running event, you know what I mean.
I met my wife at a running race. I met the best friends in my life at running race events. I have met total strangers who lend a helping hand to anyone in need. Strange how we can’t translate these feeling and pure joy into our everyday lives, or can we? 
There is the thrill and drudgery of training. The exhilaration and angst of anticipation; the night before meal and planning; the morning of jitters and bathroom visits; standing at the starting line with friends and total strangers wondering “what the hell am I doing here?” And yes, the indescribably joyous feeling of finishing no matter what the clock says.
For almost two years now I have found myself unable to run very much and not being able to participate in any running races because of an ongoing nagging Achilles injury that is slowly resolving. However, I was recently reminded of the pure joy of running in road races recently this Spring by having the good fortune of watching and participating in two recent events.
The Girls on the Run 5K
Picture 1200 smiling, screaming, jumping for joy girls along with their running buddies and then turn up the volume. What else could bring such joy other than the belief in yourself, setting a lofty goal that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, sticking with that goal day in, day out, training with friends, making new friends, connecting with old friends and just putting one foot in front of the other and having the courage to start until you complete the journey.
The smiles on those little girls faces at the finish line was priceless and I don’t know of many other things in our lives that could bring such joy and smiles to people’s faces, bringing people from all different walks of lives and our community to work together to accomplish a common goal that is not met until everyone crosses that finish line, which they did, with no louder cheers then for the finishing group that crossed. We could all learn a lot from those Girls on the Run!
The EmPower 5K
This is the race that I was able to return to and run with my wife and daughter. While our daughter finished far ahead of us, I was able to cross the finish line with my wife. Amazing how these same feelings of anticipation, dread and exhilaration the night before the race, the morning of the race, during and after the race are always there and they will always be for anyone who has the courage to start and get to that starting line, wondering “what am I doing here?” Then when you cross that finish line you will know.

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