On Saturday morning I will be participating in my first 5K in years. I’d registered to do the Ugly Sweater Run last December, but due to scheduling conflicts I wasn’t able to attend. This weekend’s run comes at the perfect time. I’ve been running for weeks around my neighborhood. I’ve decided that by next Thanksgiving I will be running the Las Vegas Rock n Roll half marathon.
What I’m looking forward to most about completing this 5k is having my children there to cheer me on and watch me cross the finish line. Earlier this year, I found out that my daughter has the same love for running as her mommy. After she participated in her school Fun Run Fundraiser, we asked her how it felt to run. Her response, “I love to run because I feel like I’m free, like I can fly.”
Growing up, I was usually the last one picked in gym class because I was so awkward. I couldn’t catch or throw a ball. I was never good at sports. I don’t even enjoy watching sports. It wasn’t until recently that I began running.
Running to me is freedom . When I run I am able to get out of my head, zone out and zen out, and all I focus on is my rhythmic breathing and the sound of my feet hitting the pavement.
Running to me is peace.
Running to me is another way to break down misconceptions and low expectations about blindness.
Running to me is how I don’t just talk the talk, or walking the walk, but literally running it, and showing my kids that their mommy is an unstoppable, courageous, and powerful woman.
Not being able to see doesn’t define me. It doesn’t stop me from doing the things I love. If I stop and think about it, it’s because of my blindness that I’ve been able to do such amazing things. I am determined not to sit back and live a mediocre life.
There is a scene in the movie McFarland USA that I think of when I run now. The coach was having his team run the mounds in the ag fields to practice running hills. These mounds were the byproducts of the almonds and other nuts those boys literally shelled by hand everyday when they weren’t out in those fields picking. He said something to the nature of, “You’re running those hills and you’re not going to stop. When you see those hills, you’re going to smile. You’ll smile every time you come up to hill.”
That’s how I run. I run with a smile on my face. Every hill, every challenge or obstacle that comes in my path, I greet it with a huge smile. When I get to the other side of that hill, there waiting to greet me are my children who have been watching me the entire time smiling.