“My doctor told me I would never walk again. My mother told me I would. I believed my mother.” – Wilma Rudolph, first American woman runner to win three gold medals at a single Olympics
In July, I hesitantly entered a 5K race in Batavia to benefit Suicide Prevention Services. My daughter Mel’s boyfriend was co-founder of the event, and our entire family entered. Mel assured me I could walk. I have been walking short distances every day and had just added a little running, so I planned to walk most of the race and run when I could.
The race was on a hot and humid evening, and I waited anxiously for the start. “What is the route?” “What if I get lost?” “What if I’m the last to finish?”
I lined up with the runners, staying near the back so I wouldn’t block anyone. The starting gun fired, and off we went. The route went through a park and along the Fox River. Volunteers showed us where to go at every crossroad. Quotes were written in chalk along the asphalt path: “Life is worth fighting for.” “Hope is real and change is possible.” “Stay strong because you’re worth it.” “Don’t Give Up.” I was uplifted and thought the sayings are good advice not only for the race, but for my life.
Mel and her friend Morgan had decided to walk, so I passed them early on. I shouted, “I can’t believe I passed you, Mel!” Mel was on the track team in high school and is very fast when she wants to be. Before long, the two of them zipped past me.
As I ran, I passed a woman. Then I walked, and she passed me. When she slowed, I moved ahead. Meanwhile, I passed Mel and Morgan again—they had gone back to walking. They decided to run the rest of the race and passed me easily.
I invited the woman who I was “neck and neck” with to run together. Jackie told me the race was in memory of a young man she knew who had taken his own life in high school. That put a new perspective on what we were doing by being in the race and what was important. Jackie and I motivated each other to run as much as we could, and we crossed the finish line together.
My race time was 43 minutes, 29 seconds. I hadn’t burned up any pavement, but I felt good.
After the race, my son Jim came up to me and said, “Mom, you placed third in your age group!” Jim and my husband Ken also placed third in their age groups, and my daughter Katie placed fourth.
Granted, my age group had only six participants. Nonetheless, when my name was announced, I was proud to go up to the stage and collect my 3rd Place ribbon.
Today, my husband asked if I want to enter another 5K race in September to benefit PADS DuPage. This time, I didn’t hesitate. I simply said, “Yes!”
|Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Have you had an uplifting experience recently? Please respond in the comments below.|