Please tell me that I am not the only one who has been excessively active since the Olympic athletes paraded through the opening ceremony? For the last nine days, our hours have been spent:
1) glued to the television
2) googling Olympic rules and records
3) exercising a myriad of previously under-used muscles.
You see, my kids are greatly intrigued by some unexpected sports. Swimming, cycling and running are no big surprise, since we all have some extensive time invested in those sports, but it is the keen interests in Water Polo, White Water Kayaking, and Beach Volley Ball that are more surprising. This has not only meant some couch potato hours watching tv, but we have been treading water, dribbling soccer balls down the beach, and playing a lot of beach volley ball.
During yesterday’s miles down the beach, I was feeling the week’s workouts and made a mental note that Sunday would be a rest day.
But that was before I watched the Men’s 10,000 meters.
And before I watched the Women’s Marathon.
And today I couldn’t resist the urge to lace up my running shoes for a few miles. A few fast miles. Fast like the gold medal depended on it.
With my heart racing and my lungs burning, I couldn’t get the inspirational images out of my head:
Mo Farah crossed the finish line, but clearly his first thought was his training partner, Galen Rupp. Different nationalities aside, these two men are teammates in every sense of the word.
And then the Women’s Marathon. After watching the American women run in the olympic trials, I felt personally attached to this race. I longed to see them succeed. For such a physically grueling race, both Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan ran solidly. Even though a 10th and 11th place finish would not award them with a medal, it brought me to tears to know that they would be able to heal their bodies and their hearts together.
In a sport that can be selfishly individual, it is so awesome to see their team work.
I have been that lucky. I have had running partners who wanted my success just as much as their own, maybe even more. I have had friends waiting for me on that finish line. Memories of shared miles will always be more valuable to me than any of my personal records or awards.
While the end of my run today did not take place near Buckingham Palace, in my mind I retraced those same steps. The exact same steps that I ran toward the finish line of my very first marathon. (Side note – if you ever get to run the London Marathon, DO IT!) In the six years since that first marathon, I can only give thanks for the amazing gifts running has given me.
As I arrived home from my 3 mile “sprint,” my family joked that my all-out might be the same pace as the marathoners’ post race hobble. Perhaps, but today I was the fastest one out on the sidewalk.
And yes, there were a few other runners on the sidewalk.