“Alright, it is really crowded.  There is a chance that we are going to get separated at the start, but don’t worry about me.  I’ll keep track of you and catch up to you.”

We were standing near the start line of the Girls on the Run season ending 5K.  A race to celebrate all the hard work the girls put into running this season.  To help them realize the girls were capable of anything.

This would be Catelyn’s fourth 5K and I knew she was excited.  Running has turned out to be an activity that comes easy to her, in body and mind, which I love.

It was at the Girls on the Run practice 5K, that I saw the runner in her.

As she was running up the hill, I cheered her on.  I encouraged her to put her head down and use her arms to pump her up the hill.  She looked at me and yelled when she was in full stride, “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.”

All I could think as she trucked up that hill was, “She’s not breathing heavy!  Woah!”

A little bit later I saw Catelyn’s inner Gandalf appear.  Another runner was nearing her, and I could hear the words, “YOU….SHALL NOT…..PASSSSSS!” in my head as Catelyn tucked her head in and pushed herself.  No thought of running pain or discomfort.  She was only thinking of holding her position.  Pain is thought about later.

 

I thought about her inner runner when we were standing near the start line.

Catelyn was itching to get to the front.  She did not want to get stuck behind a bunch of people.  She wanted to RUN!  A feeling I know and love!

“Cate, there might be some elbows in the beginning.  No one is trying to hurt you.  It is just crowded at the start.  It will thin out as the roads open up and we find our groove.”

She nodded.  We waited and the crowd began to move.  Catelyn needed no further invitation to start.

She put her head down and began to “bob and weave” through the crowd.

It took me a little longer, being larger, to maneuver through the crowd but I caught up with Catelyn at the end of the first mile.

She went out fast and was starting to feel fatigue.  I encouraged her to find a steady pace she could hold for the next mile and a half.  I taught her how to reach out for high 5’s from the crowd for running power.  She locked her arm in mine when she started to fall behind and I pulled her up.  I asked her how she was holding up and if she needed to slow down.  She told me she was fine, and even thought to ask, “How are you doing?”  Which still makes me smile.

Us runners, well, we look out for each other!

At the last half mile, Catelyn mustered all she had and took off like lightning.  Her speed never wavered so I put my pedal to the metal.  She soared through the end while I pushed to keep up!

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She crossed the finish line with a time of 25:55.  Catelyn and I were so proud of her hard work!

She loved the picture of her racing taken by the race crew.  She has asked for it for her room so she can remember that race forever.  I love the picture, too.  The race will be a memory that we treasure forever.

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