Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When Running is Bigger than Me.

Last summer, while participating in the Playmakers race series, I discovered my favorite Lansing-area race: Max's Race.  Max was only seven months old when he was diagnosed bacterial spinal meningitis, and he passed away from complications of that condition at age six.  I did not know Max, and yet this story compels me to run this race.  The story is a heartbreaking one, and yet Max's race feels like a celebration. It's a race to honor this little boy and raise money for causes hoping that no other family has to suffer this kind of heartbreak.

This was only my husband's second 5k, and I was excited for him to run this great race.  The course winds through his alma mater, Michigan State.  We started at the beautiful MSU Auditorium and were cheered on by the MSU cheerleaders and Sparty. It is a nice size race, but it's also not too large. Unlike last year there was plenty of cloud cover, and the air felt almost cool for the end of June.

A beautiful morning - why wouldn't we be smiling?
Despite the cool temperatures it was rather humid, and it's always the humidity that slows me down- physically and mentally. Just after the second mile I saw Max's mom on the course cheering on runners. I met her last year, and I'm not even sure she remembers me. But when I saw her it spurred me on to push harder and dig deeper. Stories like Max's are ones that push me to run harder for all of those who can't run.

Once again Max's Race had the BEST volunteers. It's got some of the best volunteers of any race I've ever done. They are everywhere, they're friendly, and it makes the course feel even more fun. I thanked nearly each volunteer that I passed. It is always a thankless job, and these volunteers in particular should feel the love.

We broke my husband's 5k PR, and I am so, so proud of him. He's been running consistently, he's gotten healthier, and I think he even likes running...something I never thought I'd see. Last year's race was really fun, but this year was even better having my husband running with me.  

Still smiling at the finish
It had been nearly two months since my last race, and I came up with a lot of excuses for why I wasn't running. Some of them were logistically legitimate; others not so much. But Max's race reminds me to dig deeper, push harder, and run because I'm blessed that I can. 

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