The run was on a part dirt part rock trail and over 1,000 people had signed up! Before the race started we sang the National Anthem and had a moment of silence in honor of those incredible men and women. Then off we went! As I ran and listened to nothing but feet pounding the dirt, I almost started crying. I thought about all of the men and women who are overseas defending our great nation. I thought about how my husband will soon be one of them.
The trail was a difficult one and the sun was beating down on my face. I was hot and thirsty, and ready for some lunch. Part of me wanted to stop and walk, especially towards the end. But I repeated these words over and over in my head: "You will not walk. Those precious men and women didn't get to walk away on 9-11, so you're not walking either. You will run this race until the very end." And so I did. And when I crossed that finish line, I felt so proud of myself! For pushing my body further than it wanted to go. For utilizing discipline and drive.
My husband stayed back to walk with our daughter because his knee and foot were sore from some training he's been doing. So I waited for them at the finish line. Lots of people came in after I did, but I only had eyes for a handsome man and a beautiful little girl. Then I saw them: my husband, running through his pain with our laughing daughter on his shoulders. At this moment, my eyes filled with tears again. This is what it's all about. This is why our men and women are fighting terror with such vigor: so we can have the freedoms to do things like run a 5k with our family. So we can be surrounded with friends and strangers, all with one common thread: freedom. So we can enjoy life. So we can be patriotic and proud!
This will not be my last race. The feeling you get during and after is indescribable, an almost spiritual experience. A high, an addiction. Well, at least that's how it happened for me. Some of you may think I'm crazy. I can't wait to sign up for my next one!