Congratulations to all our Strong Together participants! It's been a little more than a week since you put it all out there and participated in the Redbud Classic. We're so proud of your progress and your decision to chase a healthier lifestyle. We hope you continue on your fitness journey. Below, find a little post-race inspiration from two of our bloggers. We'll be featuring our participants again in our May issue, so be sure to pick up a magazine next month.
From Courtney: There were few Redbud runners more nervous than me on race day. My parents traveled from Chicago to join my husband and daughter to cheer me on in my first-ever organized race. Personal cheering section? Check. At my request, my husband and daughter colored a poster for me. “Go, Mommy, go!” it read. “We love you.” One-of-a-kind cheer paraphernalia? Check. Unbeknownst to him, even my pastor’s message was tailored for me that morning. The second sermon in a series, titled, “Finish Strong,” he warned me: don’t quit and cited James 1:2-4. Motivational pep talk? Check.
It seemed that without any public announcement from me, the whole world knew it was race day. And I wondered if I had enough courage, strength, breath, hunger…to cross the finish line. Maybe I’d choke. Or stop. Or give up completely.
After church, I attempted to take a pre-race nap, but my mind had already started. Once my body finally departed the start line, peace enveloped me. I knew two things. I wouldn’t be the first to finish nor would I be the last. The pressure was lifted. I ran at my own pace while still admiring all of the participants, young and old, skinny and fat, mothers and grandmothers, who decided to just do it. I felt not only the power of my own body as I pushed myself through the humidity, but the collective power of all the other runners too. Miraculously, I didn’t see anyone retreat to the sidelines grimacing from injury. I did see a mother slow down several times to keep pace with her adult daughter. I did witness 5-, 6- and 7-year-old boys and girls running with their mothers. Also, I eyed a good number of mothers running behind big-wheeled strollers while sleeping infants were none the wiser.
I crossed the finish line 43 minutes after I started. I realized each day of training, even the days I wanted to quit, but didn’t, made my completion so satisfying. I would definitely run a 5K again. But I’ve already done that. So why not run a 10K? I’ve marked my calendar and my training resumes Monday. I’m looking forward to going farther with runhers and Strong Together.
From Mae: One of the best things about joining Strong Together turned out to be having support on race day. I was so nervous about running the race. I don't know why but my stomach was a little upset all weekend. I wasn't running it to win or even to beat my own time; my goal was to run the entire race. What helped me calm down was meeting up with the group and being able to talk with other 5K newbies.
Thankfully I was not the only one who was nervous. Talking before the race helped me feel not alone in my nervousness and kept me distracted. I only new a few of the other runners but I really enjoyed meeting more. It was awesome seeing a diverse group of women come together and support each other.
I hope you all enjoyed your run on race day. Once I got running I did. It was a little easier than I thought. I think it was somewhat because of adrenalin and partly because I was so distracted trying to avoid people. Even though the runners spread out it was still a little crowded and I had to pay attention.
When I wasn't avoiding other runners, all I could think about was seeing my family at the end of the race. As I did a majority of my training with my kids and my son asked regularly why I was running, I wanted them to see me complete my goal. It was so rewarding to see their smiling faces and know I am showed them that taking time for ourselves is important.
Hope to see you at another race soon.