I was so disappointed last night that I’d missed the Slice of LIfe writing day. My writing has suffered from a major lack of focus and I look forward to those days. When my wife pointed out that it was, in fact, Monday, I was both relieved and sheepishly embarrassed. Summer vacation: the only time when you lose track of days!
Hey, no need for name-calling! Geez! 🙂
Anyway, this past weekend, my wife and I had the opportunity to run in the Alive and Running 5K. Why is this a big deal? While it’s our first time, but it’s actually the 13th annual event. We’ve always had a cattle show we went to with our daughters, and with them FINALLY aging out (don’t get me wrong, I miss the girls showing and the cows), we had the opportunity. Also, last year, we were either on our way or in Boston at the time, so there was that as well.
My family has been at the event since its inception 13 years ago. My brother is friends with the organizers, so it was important that his family was there. They got my parents and away we went.
This is a major fundraiser of the group, Alive and Running Iowa, an organization started because a friend took his own life. On the website, the question is why, and they tell the story of Rodger’s passing, then answer that question:
We want to save lives.
Plus, this is where I graduated from high school 33 years ago. My dad and brother would always talk about the people who’d say, “Where is Darin,” but I just couldn’t envision that. As I walked out of the building, I had very little reason to come back. High school was not fun for me being an introvert and the fact that I really never had that group to feel safe with didn’t help either. So as my family kept asking, “So are you coming,” it was a tough decision.
We picked up race materials on Friday night, and it was the third time I’d been back in those 33 years. One time for a gymnastics meet with my daughters, the other, a regional basketball game. Both time, I knew I wasn’t going to see anyone I knew, so it was no big deal. This time, I knew I would. As we walked into the commons, the first person I saw was a classmate I’d literally not seen since graduation. He was on the phone and we looked at each other, gave the farmer head nod, I could see the wheels turning in his head, and he could see them in mine! After we grabbed our materials, I stopped and caught up for a minute, then we took off for my parents’ place.
They moved to town last fall (not a bad thing), so having the chance to have dinner together, talk, laugh, and just catch up was much needed.
We headed out on Saturday and my anxiety kicked in big time. Sure enough, I found classmates. Two gave me big hugs, the third a handshake, and we caught up together. We may even have started the plan to try to get more of our class (a whopping 32) to come to the race next year.
The community we built in talking was exactly what the whole experience was about. Getting people talking about ourselves, our lives, mental health, all of it. That’s why this organization has come together as well as it has because both Troy and Ryan ARE talkers and it’s hard not to talk when the conversation gets going. As we lined up for the race, there were many tears and hugs and high fives from people who were running on honor of friends and family who felt life was too hard. It was inspiring to see people carrying on even though this weight was there. But that another thing this event funds, support groups, outreach programs, and education so that lives can be saved.
My time, I at 28:56, not too shabby for fat, old, and slow. My brother won is age group and will be in my next year. Jerk (yes he reads this so I can say that). But as one of the classmates I saw said, it’s not about the time, it’s about pushing through the temporary pain of the moment, to keep going even though things hurt and the hill is long. I thought that was a pretty powerful statement. We packed up and headed back to my parents’ house for lunch and chit chat about life. We got a few things done for them, then it was time to go.
Will we go back? I’m hoping so, but we’ll see. For all the angst I put myself through, it was an enjoyable time, both the event and time with family. I’d like to do more, find that purpose of my own because I kind of drifting right now, which I guess isn’t a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be a life style choice! 🙂
I’ve linked the Alive and Running site above, but I’ll do it here as well. They are working towards a $100,000 goal by the end of fall (September/October), so if you are so inclined, give them a look. Share the site. Keep the conversation going.
I plan to keep running and working on just being a better me. So many of the people there inspired me to do better. Who knows, maybe I’ll beat my brother?