4th Annual Kyleigh’s Gift 5K Run/3K Walk

Saturday, October 14, was the 4th Annual Kyleigh’s Gift 5K run/3K walk.  Proceeds from the race go to support infant wellness education and parental support.  One of the things they do is give a sleep sack to each newborn at our local hospital.

The race was set to start at 5:00, and so were severe thunderstorms for our area.  There was also a candlelight ceremony scheduled at 6:30 to recognize National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Before the race and/or before the ceremony, you could decorate a luminary.  Everything was originally planned to be held outside but got moved to indoors due to the severe weather we were expecting.

All of the events took place at the hospital with the race going through the parking lot, down a road less traveled, and then on a walking trail that goes through part of the hospital grounds.  We were told it was one lap for the 3K, and two laps for the 5K (must be that new math).  Since I’m still recovering from my ankle sprain, I registered for the 3K.  I knew I could walk that distance.  My friends, however, registered for the 5K.

Everyone was mulling around waiting for the race to begin.  So far it was dry, but it was gray and we could hear thunder, so it was evident that bad weather was approaching.  Finally, at 4:45, the race director said that they were going to go ahead and start the race since the bad weather was supposed to arrive at about 5:30.  He made it clear that only those comfortable with being outdoors with severe weather approaching should proceed.

The horn blew and we were off–runners first and walkers behind.  It soon became evident that we were running/walking right towards a thunderstorm.  Lightening was very close.  A lot of people turned around and went back after traveling less than 50 yards, especially those with children.

I set my tabata timer for 10 seconds work/running and 30 seconds rest/walking and planned to use that for at least part of the race.  However, there were times when I thought that I felt good, so I went ahead and ran a little longer.  I continued to run/walk and it soon began to rain.

Once I reached the paved trail, the wet surface was slick, so I decided I would have to walk the rest of the way.  I tried running beside the trail where the grass had been trimmed, but it was too uneven for my ankle.  It was not a risk I was willing to take.  I had to slow way down and watch my step on the trail.

After going a short distance on the trail, a race official in a golf cart pulled up beside me.  He said they were calling all the runners/walkers in due to the weather and that he wanted me to take the first entrance into the parking garage that I could.  The weather wasn’t horrible yet, but it looked like it could get that way in an instant.  I had gone 1.3 miles.

By the time I made it through the parking garage and up a few levels, the storm was here.  People were being encourage to go inside.  Within a few minutes the wind was blowing and tents and speakers were going everywhere.

Once inside, we waited.  We watched the rain come down and the wind blow.  We chatted and took a few pictures with our friends.  We gladly ate some of the snacks that were provided.  The electricity went out a few times, and the water rushed into the building under the doors.  It was good to be indoors and to be safe.

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We would not realize the full extent of the damage until later.  Parts of town had utility polls snapped in half.  Many were without electricity and wouldn’t have power for a few days.

He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.  The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”  Matthew 8:26-27

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Why I Run

Why I Started

At first it was a challenge–a huge challenge.  I had completed a 12-week Commit to Get Fit program through my community center.  I had a personal trainer that I met with once a week.  It was tough, and he knew I wanted to leave the gym feeling like I had been through the wringer.  However, the program was long enough and I worked hard enough that I was seeing results.  My trainer convinced me that I could do anything I wanted to, so when I saw the flyer for the Couch to 5K program, I decided to give it a try.  I knew I could run for a whole minute on the treadmill, so surely I could work up to a 5K.

Why I Continued

There were some days, a lot of days, that were really tough.  My first run with my Couch to 5K group was the hardest.  We were to run for 60 seconds and then walk for 90.  It was the shortest 90 seconds of my life!  Our coach told us that the first day was the hardest.  At that moment it was hard to understand, but he was right, and I realized that as time went on.

What kept me going was the support I received from the coaches and from a friend.  There were so many times that I wanted to quit with the thought that running wasn’t for me, but the encouragement I got from those around me was incredible.  I had so many people telling me that I could do it and not to give up, that I kept going.

Why I’m a Runner for Life

It took a while, a long while, for me to fall in love with running.  I love that I can continue to challenge myself.  There’s always some way to improve whether it’s with a faster speed or a farther distance.  I can compete with others if I want, or I can compete with no one but myself.

I love being outside.  This wasn’t always the case, as I was allergic to everything, but that has also changed.  Since I started jucing and eating lots of fruits and vegetables my allergies have disipated so being outside is much more enjoyable now.  Getting some sun and fresh air almost every day feels great.

Running is a simple sport that I can take anywhere.  Running does not require a lot of equipment.  The most important thing all runners need is a good pair of shoes.  Beyond that, most things are optional.  Having the right clothing will make it more comfortable, and I do have some lights and refelctive gear that I use for running at night.  In the big scheme of things, this equipment is all very inexpensive and can be obtained a piece at a time.

In the end, it’s all about feelings.  Running makes you feel great.  There are so many days that I don’t want to run.  I make myself do it and am always glad that I did.  I end up feeling so much better afterwards.  It feels great when the air is cool and crisp to have the sun warming your skin.  When it’s hot and you think you’re going to melt, a soft, gentle breeze feels equally as wonderful.  Going out and accomplishing what you said you’d accomplish is always a satisfying feeling.  That doesn’t always happen, and some runs are better than others, but the “runners’ high” is always there no matter what.

I also run to encourage others.  It has been a life-changing experience for me, so I know it can be for other people as well.  Not only that, I know that if I can do it, anyone can.  That anyone could be YOU!

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.  1 Corinthians 9:24

 

Slowing Down

As I mentioned in my last post, it was a huge disappointment to end up with a severe ankle sprain just a few days before what is one of the most important races of the year for me.

I spent the first week after my injury wallowing in my mire and eating lots of chocolate.  I tried to continue with my 10,000 steps a day, but it soon became obvious that this was more than my ankle could tolerate right now.  The doctor kept telling me, “You’re going to have to lay off.”

The first thing I did was to cut my daily step goal in half to 5,000 steps.  This is equal to a couple of walks around the block each day, which is enough to make my ankle feel better, but also enough to make it want to swell.  I’ve also been concentrating on my eating.  No more chocolate and back to Bright Line Eating.

This time of year is always a big switch in schedules for me.  Our running group has quit meeting three days a week and it’s now back to school time, so there’s a big switch up in our daily activities anyway.  This year’s switch up has been bigger than expected.

I started a project last summer of going room by room, closet by closet, and drawer by drawer getting rid of things we no longer need or use.  We have gotten rid of so much “stuff” and have so  much more that needs to go.  I’m continuing that project as I can.

The time that I spent running in the past is now spent doing strengthening exercises for my ankle every day.  I’ve discovered that they can easily be done while sitting in the recliner with the footrest up, so that makes them more comfortable and enjoyable.  After those are done in the morning, I then spend time getting my electrodes placed and then wrapping my foot in some way to help keep them in place.  I use a TENS unit all day every day, 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off.  Yes, these are my electronic shock treatments.  At night I’m sleeping with a compression sock to help with the swelling and a brace which immobilizes my ankle and helps with the pain.

I’ve had to face one of my biggest fears:  If I stop running or exercising, I’ll never start again and go back to being a couch potato.  I’ve finally decided that this is not true.  Where I am now is temporary.  I’ll do what I can, slowly increasing my activity, until I’m back to where I was.  It will probably take months, but that’s ok.  There’s nothing like having goals to work towards!

Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever
circumstances I am.  Philippians 4:11

Finished

Just as this past week was the end of summer for most, it was also the last week and big finale for our Couch to 5K group.  The last week we do a taper down, which means we back off on our running so we can run with fresh legs for our 5K.  The 5K our group was to run was the Bill James 5K/10K Classic on September 9.  This is the same run our group finished with last year.

Monday’s run was a little odd because we met two hours earlier than usual due to it being a holiday.  Tuesday night, we met at our regular time.  To show the newbies how far we’ve come, our coach had us do the running schedule from day one which was run for one minute and walk for 90 seconds.  We did this several times, and our mileage ended up being right around a mile.

I went home that evening and looked at my Fitbit to realize that I had 9,000 steps in.  I told my family that I was going to go walk around the block in an effort to break the 10,000 step barrier.  It was starting to get dark.  My daughter was concerned about my walking in the dark.

I went around the block at a quick pace.  It was getting late, and I wanted to finish and get to bed.  I was about 3/4 of the way around the block and was walking on the street on a stretch where there is no sidewalk.  I looked to my right to a group of people talking, and at that time my foot went half off the pavement and half on the curb.  I completely rolled my ankle and felt it pop.  I almost fell, but managed to recover.

My first thought was, “Oh, no.  This is really bad.”  However, I continued to walk and amazingly enough didn’t have a lot of pain.  I immediately went home and put some ice on it.

The next morning, walking around the house wasn’t too bad.  I decided to put my shoes on and try to do some walking around my neighborhood.  That was a completely different story.  It was very painful.

I decided to pay a visit to my sports injury doctor.  X-rays revealed that the tendon on my fibula has pulled some of the bone away.  The official diagnosis is that I “sprain the heck out of it.”

This, of course, was a huge disappointment.  Not only did I have a race coming up in three days, it was the big finale for our Couch to 5K group!  This was an event that I wasn’t going to miss, so I decided to focus on what I could do instead of what I couldn’t do.

I went ahead and went to the race with electrodes attached to my ankle and compression socks to help not only keep the swelling down but to also help wrangle the cords.  When I arrived, I went to the registration table and asked them to change my registration to the one mile walk.  I knew there was no way I could even walk three miles, but I was convinced I could walk one.

The race started, and everyone quickly left me in the dust.  I hobbled along the best I could.  This race was an out and back.  By the time I got to the turn around point, I was meeting 5K runners.

I did the best I could for that day.  I walked the one mile and had plenty of 5K runners pass me along the way.  I borrowed my daughter’s pompoms and spent the rest of my time cheering my fellow team members across the finish line.  For some this was their first race ever.

For now, running and anything else that requires being on my feet is on hold.  I’m finished.

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
  II Corinthians 12:10

OD5K: Officers Down 5K

We had a great time on August 26 running the Officers Down 5K.  This was the first year for our community to host this event.  Here is their mission from their website:

It is our mission as The Officers Down 5K to celebrate officers who put their lives on the line daily to keep our communities safe and honor those who have fallen in the line of duty. While officers give to the community on a daily basis, it is now our time to give back.

Officers Down 5K was founded in 2011 with a goal to bring the community together on “just a day” rather than just when an officer is killed, to show support to the men and women in blue.

The race did not start until 10:00 am, so packet pickup was the morning of the race.  This was a disappointment.  I prefer to pick up my packet the day before so that I have everything, including my bib, ready to go before the race.  Packet pickup also is usually near the actual event, so that gives me a chance to preview the race route.  Instead, a friend and I made a special trip out the day before the race to preview the route.  It reminded me of the last race we did on July 4, so I felt like I really knew what to expect.

Since the race had a late start, I was able to get up on race day and eat a full breakfast!  After breakfast, I got ready for the race and went ahead and headed down to the event.  I arrived by 8:30, and decided to do some walking before the race.  I’ve been walking lately before my runs and I do think it makes a difference.  The event took place in a large parking lot, so I made several laps around.  After 9:00 rolled around, more people and friends and relatives started arriving, so we congregated and chit chatted.

The opening ceremonies began with the Star Spangled banner.  Then there was the kids’ fun run.  Once the kids were done, it was our turn.

The race was a simple out and back, which I like.  At least on the way back, you have a good sense of how far you’ve gone and how far you have to go.  I immediately noticed that their mile markers seemed to be a little long.  Whether or not that would effect the entire race, I didn’t know.  I’ve participated in races where the mile markers were off, but the entire course overall was accurate.

Fortunately for us, we have had a mild summer, and particularly the last month.  It was 65 degrees when I got up and about 70 degrees when the race started.  That is unheard of this time of the year.  Often in August, we don’t see 70 degrees, not even as a low for the day.

Unfortunately, with the race starting at 10:00, that put the sun right overhead bearing down on us.  It made the run very warm, but tolerable.  Besides that, it was a typical city-street run with your gradual hills rolling up and down.

Since this race was not timed, and the course seemed to be long, I kept an eye on my pace and my time.  At the 3.1 mile mark, my time was 40:55, which is what I’m recording for this race.  This would be an unofficial PR for me!  My average pace overall was 13:08, which is very good for this old, slow lady.  (Let’s not mention that there were officers running in full uniform that finished long before I did!)

All participants received finishers’ medals.  After the race we were given sack lunches from two different local restaurants!  There was a raffle for some gear, and we got to see a K-9 demonstration.  We also got some really cool swag at packet pick up.

With the damage from Hurricane Harvey there’s a lot of focus on giving and donating to good causes.  Participating in some kind of run each month, regardless of the distance, is a great way to give to causes you deem worthy.  That’s why you won’t see me doing “fun runs.”  Some months have more runs to choose from than others, but I try to choose runs that benefit organizations that I am comfortable giving to.

But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.  Matthew 6:3-4

4 Miles on the 4th

We celebrated July and Independence Day with the CRMC 4-Mile run.  This was a 4 mile run in a small community, and the funds raised went to support their local hospital.

Packet pickup was on Monday.  Cinderella and I made a day of it by getting a haircut and then heading up to packet pick up.  We got our packets and then went to attempt to find the route for the race.  I had a map of the route of the race, the only problem was that it did not indicate the direction.  It did not take long to find the arrows already marked on the road indicating where to turn and for me to realize that we were going backwards.  I turned around and we then drove what we thought was the route of the race in the correct direction.

After that, Cinderella and I found a local diner, and we both had a delicious and inexpensive meal.

I was a little apprehensive about this race because I had not been consistently running distances over two miles.  My last race was a 6K (3.8 miles) and I had walked a lot of it.  My goal for this race was to run a majority of it and to finish in at least the same time as the last race even though it was a longer distance.

On the morning of the fourth, we had typical summer weather (hot and humid) but we were blessed that it was cloudy and overcast.  When we lined up for the race, we lined up going in the opposition direction I thought we’d be going, so I didn’t know what to expect.  I had told my daughter that it was a pretty flat course, and she’d be fine.  The first thing we did was run up a big hill!

Evidently, I had somehow missed the first leg of the race.  I was not mentally prepared for the two big hills that were in that leg.  I decided I wasn’t going to wear myself out on the first mile and then be pooped out the rest of the race, so I did go ahead and walk some of the hills in the race.

I was about the same pace as a guy that told me he had been running for 30 years, hadn’t done any running in the last 11 years, and was starting to run again.  After I told him I had just started running two years ago, it seemed like he was trying to be an encourager.  Evidently, we had opposite strategies, so we kept passing each other.

The race was exhausting, and I definitely felt like I had reached my max.  However, not only did I reach my goal, I actually finished over a minute under my last race which was a shorter distance!

Afterwards, we hung around for the awards and then went back to the same local diner for breakfast.  It was a great way to kick off the Fourth and enjoy the freedoms we have thanks to so many that have gone before us and made many, many sacrifices.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36

 

Walking Down Memory Lane

June 10th was the Get Outdoors Day 6K.  This race benefited the Watkins Mill Association.  This one was close to heart and home.  I grew up two miles from the lake that we would soon run around.  It holds a lot of memories.

As has been our practice with previous races, we ran the course a couple of times before the race so we knew what we were getting ourselves into.  This race was on a paved trail that circles the lake.  Originally, the trail was about 4.1 miles, but it has been modified on the north end so that it is now only 3.8 miles.

Technically, the trail was much shorter in the beginning.  It started at the north end of the park where there was a picnic and playground area.  You could park there and then ride your bike or walk along the west side of the lake and across the dam where the trail came to an abrupt halt.

In what seemed to be 100 years to this little girl, the trail was finally completed so that it circled the lake.  At that time, it was about 4.1 miles and still began and ended at the picnic/playground area.

As a teenager, several of us would ride our bikes up and down a few enormous hills, past the old church and octagon schoolhouse, and then down the gravel road and across the wooden bridge to the beginning of the trail.  We would then race around the trail four times and then ride home for a total of about 20 miles.  If it was extremely hot, we came prepared, and often did, take a dip in the lake.

As a younger child, I remember the church and schoolhouse being restored.  One day while out garage saling with my mother, we went by the church to find that it was open and there were men working on it.  We stopped and asked if we could take a look inside, and they obliged.

I rode across that wooden bridge every day on the school bus.  We would hang on tight to the back of the seat in front of us in hopes that the driver would fly across the bridge at just the right speed and angle as to send us bouncing up out of our seats.  There were many picnics at the picnic area with church, 4-H, and other groups.  This always involved playing in the creek and under the bridge itself.  We also found the creek to be a great place to work on our rock-skipping skills.

The forecast for race time was sunny and 72 degrees, so I did not wear the heavy t-shirt we were given.  Instead, I wore a tech-shirt that I received at Tortoise and the Hare 5K.  The race started near the parking lot for the swim beach–something else that has changed over the years.  We ran in a counter-clockwise direction, which to me is the “right” direction after spending years riding my bike mostly in that direction.

We ran up and down a few shady hills and then out into the sun and across the dam.  The same dam that I spent many hours fishing, but never really catching anything, with my dad.  I remember one night going fishing with my dad and a neighbor.  I couldn’t have been more than 8 years old.  A thunderstorm suddenly rolled in and we had to quickly pack up our things and head to the truck.  We packed our things up and walked across the dam as fast as we could with me in the middle, my dad holding one hand, the neighbor the other.  It was so windy, that I thought I was going to blow away.  There were times that I would take a step and I knew that neither one of my feet were touching the ground.

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Turkey vultures making breakfast out of what last night’s fishermen left behind.

This race was not chip timed and it was 3.8 miles.  I hadn’t done any 4 mile runs for a while, so I wasn’t feeling real confident about it–especially with it being as warm as it was.  Also, my friend Velma was there who I hadn’t seen for a few weeks, so we spent a good part of the race walking and talking.  It was all good.  We had a great time, and I got to take a walk (literally) down memory lane.

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“Good morning,” says the cardinal to the owl.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Luke 12:27

Heart and Sole 5k

On Saturday, May 6, my oldest daughter and I (and a few other friends) ran the Tri County Heart and Sole 5K.  This race benefits local children with mental health issues.

Last year, this race was my first race of 2016 and the second race of my life.  I had taken the winter off and was just starting to get back into running again.  Not only was it wet and rainy the morning of the race, we had had torrential downpours a few days before.  There were patches where the trail was covered in one inch deep mud.  I had never ran the race route before, so I had no idea what to expect.

This year was completely different.  It was sunny and warm the morning of race day.  We had not had a lot of rain beforehand, so the trail was dry and clean.  My daughter and I had gone out a few times before the race and ran the course, so we knew what to expect.  Also, we did not take the winter off.  In essence, we were much more prepared this year.

This was not just a race, it was an event!  Before the race, there was a Zumba warm up by my favorite Zumba instructor, Shertoine.

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After singing the Star Spangled Banner, it was off to the race where we had great trail support!  This is the stuff that makes you smile and run a little harder.  Thank you to whoever got up early to do all of this!

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Then it was time for the kids fun dash.  My granddaughter ran her first race and got her first finisher’s medal!

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After that, we got to test drive this awesome vehicle!  (Wishful thinking.)

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Vroom, vroom!

 This was a fun morning with family and friends.  Like I said, this was not just a race, but an event–all for a great cause.

Indeed, may you see your children’s children.  Psalm 128:6a

First Place Runner!

One evening during a meeting, I received a phone call.  I recognized the number as coming from the family that I grew up next door to.  My first thought was that something horrible had happened.  Instead, I was asked if I wanted to run a 5K–in two weeks.  A business had purchased bibs and had two that were unclaimed.  My daughter and I could have them for free if we wanted.  No runner is going to turn that offer down!

April 22 was my second 5K for April, and one that was not planned.  The money for this 5K went to support a local Christian school.  This school is attached to a church that many, many years ago my two older kids took co op classes at.  So, I was familiar with the church and school and felt like it was a worthwhile cause.

At packet pick up we got some cool swag.  Lots of local coupons including $5 off at a local grocery store.  We also got red t-shirts and glittery headbands that aren’t supposed to slide on your head.

The race itself was at a local park with a trail.  We were somewhat familiar with the park but not the trail in particular.  We had to drive by it to get to packet pick up, so we took a drive through the park and looked over the trail the best we could.  Upon leaving we noticed a big hill with a monstrous grade.  The only question was, were we going to be running up it or down it tomorrow?

The forecast for the race was 45 degrees and a light rain.  The only race I’ve had to run in the rain was warm enough that it wasn’t cold.  I didn’t know how I would handle this one.  I’ve been told by veteran runners that the secret is to stay dry.  How to do that, I wasn’t sure.

As Friday progressed, I kept checking the weather forecast for Saturday morning at race time.  The temperature kept going up and the chance of rain kept going down.  By the time I went to bed, the forecast was 53 degrees, windy and cloudy, but no rain.  I was thankful and dressed for the forecasted weather.

Saturday morning arrived and it was 53 degrees, very windy, and the sun was shining.  I was thankful not to be running in the rain, but I was also a bit overdressed since I was expecting it to be cloudy.

The race course was interesting.  We were told that last year the course was a bit short, so we had a little out and back we had to do before running on the paved trail.  We had to do two laps around the trail.  It didn’t take long to realize that we had to go up that gnarly hill twice!

Other than the hill, it was a nice course.  I mostly ran up the hill the first time around and did more walking up the hill the second time around.  I knew it wasn’t worth it to wear myself out running up this hill.

I crossed the finish line huffing and puffing.  Then, when I saw my time I was very disappointed.  It was the worst I had done in a very long time.  Once I caught up with my daughter (literally), she told me that she was also disappointed with her time.  We blamed the wind, we blamed the hill, we blamed everything except ourselves!  Then, I looked at the stats on my Fitbit.  We had actually run 3.3 miles–nearly a quarter of a mile further.

I’ve been telling people that I’d get first place as soon as I found a race small enough.  As far as participants go, this was probably the smallest race I’ve ever run.  In fact, it was small enough that I was probably the only runner in my age group.  Which, of course, put me in first place!  Yah, check out that white ribbon around my neck that says “1st Place.”

Cinderella Runs Her First 5K

Well, official 5K, anyway.  Last year I signed Cinderella up for a one mile fun run.  The only problem was that instead of turning around at the one mile point, she kept going and ended up running the entire 5K.

On April 1, I ran the Tortoise and Hare 5K with both of my daughters!  My youngest has been asking me to sign her up for a 5K.  I didn’t think she was ready for it and told her that she needed to do some running beforehand.  This race had a reduced price for children, so I didn’t mind signing her up.

I was only able to get her to run with me one time before the race, and it wasn’t pretty.  Two days before the race, she realized the race was around the corner and it was too late for training.  She was starting to feel like she had a mountain to climb and was not at all prepared for it.

The morning started out as many days have this past winter and spring–cloudy and overcast.  This was one of the more casual races we’ve run.  We had bibs and prizes were given out for the best in each age group, but this race was not timed.

When the gun went off, I wasn’t quite ready and everyone took off like it was the Kentucky Derby.  I knew I couldn’t sustain that pace, so I backed off a little.  I was concerned about Cinderella not knowing where to go, so I decided I would stay with her no matter what.  Before we got to the one mile mark, she was complaining.

During mile two, she said she was never running another 5K again.  After that, we went into run/walk mode.  We would run until she tired out, then we would walk until she caught her breath and we could run again.

We were nearing mile three when Cinderella told me to go on and that she would walk the rest of the way.  By now, we had gotten to the point that the people that were participating in the two mile walk were close behind us.  We were close to the finish line, but she didn’t know it because there was a curve in the road right before the finish line.

We couldn’t see the finish line, but I could see part of the building that we had started in front of.  I said, “We’re almost there.  Do you see that building?  That’s where we started.”

We continued to walk, until we made it around the curve and could see the finish line.  I told Cinderella that we were going to sprint across.  I found a landmark and said, “When we get to that sign, we’re going to run as fast as we can.”  A few seconds later, I grabbed her hand, and I drug her across the finish line. Finishing with her was a great feeling!