Sunday, February 13, 2011

Partners in Pain

OK, so I'm new to this blogging thing, and I will admit, there's a certain kind of undue pressure that I'm putting on myself to keep ideas flowing on this blog.  It's been a while since I posted something.  It's not for a lack of things to say, it's for a lack of the pictures to go with it.  You know, words only say so much, it's really the pictures that people want to see. 
Additionally, the year's posts to date have sort of started out with some tear jerkers.  I know this because people are telling me that they always know to read my posts when no one else is around!  Oh my.  I promise it's not intentional, it's just the way that life has been lately.
Today we ran a race.  It was called Partners in Pain.  I suppose it's name might make some expect to hear another tear jerker of a story.  Partners in Pain is all about running 5K with a partner.  At the end, your combined score can earn you prizes....except that I've run this race many times and I've come to know for sure that me and my partner will NEVER win any running prizes.  Our prize is signing up for the race, actually showing up to run it, and checking it off the list of goals for 2011.  And, damn that feels good!
This is my partner.   He is a much faster runner than I am, but I still like him.  He still shows up to these race events with his Garmin on, sets the race pace he's looking for, has a strategy, and compares the stats from previous years so that he knows where he's been and where he could be.  In other words, he's such a GUY.
As for me, I used to follow this same mentality.  I mean, there was a time in my life where I was ultracompetitive and I really had a drive to train seriously and then get after it.  But these days, it's more about the event than the actual race.  Here's what I'm talking about:
Here's the whole group of us ladies who showed up to run Partners in Pain together.  Actually, I only knew that four of us were running.  I didn't realize we would have such a crowd.  But it sure was fun!
Here's Mel and Jen.  The Guerrero girls made this sign for them and came to cheer them on.  Jen's wearing Team Liv On, in honor of her daughter Olivia.  The run today was a chance for all of us to set a goal and then go out there and accomplish it, each at our own pace, and for our own purpose.  I cannot speak for anyone else, but my main goal today was to encourage my friend Jen to nourish her own soul through running some races this year.  Running and being outside just have a way of making you feel so alive.  The energy of a group of people who come together to conquer a road race is contagious.  Seeing the "real runners" with their singlets and super small running shorts as they start heading to the finish is inspiring.  Watching the group of ladies that I was part of conquer the course, each at their own pace, was equally inspiring to me.  We did it!  And for Jennifer, well, I saw her smile today and she meant it.  I also heard her say, "I've got to train for this next one."  This made me smile even bigger. 
The reality is, life is hard, and tragedies in our lives make it harder.  But, when you have a friend who, within hours of losing her daughter, was able to coin the term, "LIVE ON!"....well, it just sort of makes you want to work harder.  That is a special kind of person, and someone that I want to stick close to!  
I'll sign out with this final picture.  This is Jen and I, at age 14, at the Bloomsday finish.  My dad took this photo of us.  I'm trying to make sure the finish camera catches my wave, and Jen and I are holding hands pulling each other to the finish.  I find this picture just a tad symbolic of what life is like.  Thank God for friends who share a passion for life, and who are unafraid to reach out and pull each other along.  And sometimes, when the pain is really bad, that God gives us the strength to reach up and give a wave.  Jen, we are LIVING ON!  Thank you to all the ladies who showed up to run today.  See you in March at St. Paddy's Day Five!

1 comment:

  1. Shannon - inspiring, as always. And YES, you make me cry!