On January 1st, 2013, I participated in the Calhoun's New Year's Day 5k. Just getting to the race site was a huge win - it was cold and rainy and I spent a good 15 minutes that morning trying to come up with a good reason not to go.
It was an amazing feeling to sign in and get my first ever race bib (number 449) and listen to the National Anthem before the race started. It dawned on me that this was the first time ever, that I had heard the anthem at a sporting event where I was a participant. Never in grade school, high school or college, but here, at age 48, I was participating in an actual sporting event. Despite the rain and the cold, I was thrilled.
Then the race started. In short order I ran through a puddle and felt the water fill my shoes. My calf and ankle quickly began to ache. I had started towards the back of the group of almost 800 participants but was still keenly aware of being passed by other runners and walkers.
I kept telling myself - "This is my race - I am not competing against anyone but me. My goal is to finish".
Shortly after hitting the turn around point I found myself near a group of "20 something" girls who were walking the course in rain ponchos, laughing and having fun. I continued to walk briskly for a few minutes and then would jog as long as I could before going back to walking. When I started my jog, I found myself back in 3rd grade gym class as the "mean girls" decided to have some fun with me.
I won't honor the words by typing them here - but let's just say these young women thought it was amusing to make loud comments about my progress.
About that time, I saw two figures walking towards me. Two of my teammates, Bryan and Scott, had finished the race and come back, in the rain, to see me to the finish line. When I chided them about not having the sense to get out of the rain, their response was simple - they came back because that is what a team does. They stayed with me until I ran across the finish line.
So later that day, after I had a hot bath (complete with hot cocoa, compliments of the sweetest hubby in the word), I thought about the mean girls. About how, at first, their words stung - but only for a minute. I was honeslty surprised that the next thing I felt was pity. How sad to think you have peaked at 20. To think you have no room to grow - and to feel the need to put down a woman (me ;) who is achieving things at 48 that she couldn't imagine at 20.
My New Years wish for those girls is the gumption to always strive to be better, a team to support them along the way and someone who loves them like my husband Kent loves me.
Looking forward to 2013!