The GO! St. Louis race in April 2013 wasn’t my first choice.
I had originally planned to run the Christie Clinic race in Champaign, Illinois. I’d heard it was a nice course, flat, and it ended at the football stadium at the university. When I was training with Fleet Feet in St. Louis, it was the race I told everyone I signed up for.
But, because we weren’t able to find someone to dog sit for our very shy “Mississippi Mudhound,” I ended up not being able to run it. Instead I ran the GO! St. Louis race the week before.
The race was a challenge for me for a couple of reasons. Mentally, I hadn’t prepared myself to run it. Anyone who runs long distance races knows being mentally ready is half the battle. More importantly, I was experiencing some stomach upset and just wasn’t feeling my best. The few people I was running with from my training group had left me behind, due to my frequent potty stops.
So I was running on my own and feeling discouraged. I’d had high hopes that this race was going to be awesome, unlike a half I’d run two weeks prior that ended up a disaster.
Around mile 8, I sensed a growing excitement around me. Onlookers and fellow runners started clapping and cheering. I looked back and saw Blade Runner go by. In fact, he breezed by me a couple times during the rest of the race. Once, he fell. A man running next to him asked him if he needed help but he said no. When he got back up, everyone around us cheered.
I have to admit I felt even worse about myself after seeing him in the race. I wondered how I could be so shallow as to moan about not having the perfect race when this man had more challenges than I ever would.
But in reality, we all have our challenges. Some are physical, like this runner’s. Someone else’s struggles might be an illness they’ve beaten.
In the end though, we all run our own race.