I recently brought up how strange it was that fellow girlfriends and I are close friends with someone who owns a life-sized poster of Josh Groban. This friend shall remain nameless as should all who squeal with girlish delight when he croons, “You lift me UP!” 🙂 (My apologies to big fans out there. I know there are many, some still in the closet, but you are in good company. Just not mine.) She accurately countered with excellent points on the many things that are way more strange in my life right now. Among that long, truthful list was the fact that I picked up the highly unlikely habit of running since we moved to Albuquerque.
I took that incredulous fact up a notch this weekend by completing my first official 5K race. It has gotten to the point that my friends are rightly asking me, “WHO ARE YOU?!?!” They know me as the girl you would have to pay to run (or at least hold some chocolate croissants in front of), not the girl who would actually pay money to run. Is it not ludicrous that people pay money to partake in torture with other sadistically-minded folks? Months ago, I would have shouted loudly, “LUDICROUS!”
However, the registration fee for this race was going to help Spoken For, a ministry at our church working to combat human trafficking. I definitely wanted to support their first race.
Trafficking of humans is the second largest criminal industry in the world and is the fastest growing. – US Dept. of Health & Human Services
When the boys found out I was running it, they wanted to run as well. Lucky for them, there was a kids fun run. We decided to skip their baseball games that morning (what’s 1 game out of 100?!) and register them. It became a family affair (well, almost, I could not convince Mike to run with us, but he was there for moral support).
I started jogging in the middle back of the pack with my friend Sandra. She wanted to walk it but jogged the beginning so we could start together. Once I saw the crowds take off I was like a dog excitedly wanting to chase the squirrels. Sandra graciously gave me permission to go ahead. Confession: this harmony-loving, conflict-hating, kumbayah-singing girl (see here) has a little competitiveness in her. It is why the day before the race the peaceful, beautiful morning in our neighborhood park was ruined when Mike and I showed up to play tennis (see here). The tranquility of the birds’ melodious chirping was shattered by loud shouts, trash-talking, and exaggerated gestures on the court.
I have to admit that passing runners was a little exhilarating. Of course, that was mostly in the first half of the downhill course. The latter part was uphill, and others enjoyed the satisfaction of going ahead of my heaving, panting self. I also should have emptied my bladder before starting the race. While feeling thirsty, I had to refuse the offer of water telling the volunteer more than he wanted to know: “No, thanks! I already have to pee!!” Despite the hills and full bladder, let the record show: I did it!
Who says miracles have ceased? I not only finished but had my best running pace to date (27:32:95…what do those last 2 digits even mean?!), thanks to that little competitive spirit pushing me through the people. I also have to admit, it felt pretty good. WHAT?! WHO AM I?! Believe it or not, I think I am beginning to understand runners and athletes who find satisfaction in making goals and completing them. Goals in life give you something to work towards and propel you with purpose. It felt somewhat anticlimactic resuming my regular run this morning. No, that does not mean I’ll be signing up for a half-marathon (unless Alex does carry me on her back). It does mean that striving for more is not a bad thing. I wonder how different Paul’s life would have been had he not always been “pressing on towards the goal (Phil. 3:14).”
As great as I felt about my first official race, it paled in comparison to how proud I was of my boys for completing theirs.
I knew it was set up as a 1K, but I did not really know how far that would be for their little legs. They did “train” by running around the living room couch a couple times. In actuality, they should have ran around the couch a zillion times! The boys are like their parents, meaning running (or any exercise for that matter) is not a preferred past time. Before their race even started, Ethan already told me he was feeling tired. I was worried enough about them and the true distance that I decided to jog along.
These two youngest racers of the day kept at it (even if leisurely at times). They stopped to drink water half way and completed the run even when their breathing sounded as labored as their panting Mama’s. I was impressed after my serious doubts were quieted.
It was a successful day for the event and for us four. Sandra did impressively well walking. The boys and I had fun, and we were all glad to take part in promoting a great cause for justice.
The best part of the morning for the boys was that they got medals. Ethan said with awe, “Mama, this is my first medal ever!” He asked me to take this picture of them with their prizes. I overheard Connor saying that his medal was worth millions of dollars. While that is obviously untrue, the morning itself was indeed priceless.
If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). It is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls and texts from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733). NHTRC can provide local resources in your community.