I am not a runner. Last year I volunteered to help with the Shamrock 8K race and thought, “I could do this.” Actually, I don’t know why that occurred to me, but it seemed to stick, and I started walking the Virginia Beach boardwalk on a daily basis, beginning with short distances and gradually lengthening it. It was always in the back of my mind that I was going to sign up for the 8K race, but I still didn’t do it. I’m a person of goals and have accomplished many. For example, when I began to show dogs I aspired for a Best in Show award and eventually got one. If I was going to race, I was going to give it my all. I wasn’t trying to win awards, but just to do my best.
In September, I tested the waters (or the terrain) by signing up for the Bubble Run 5K. My stamina was good, but the heat was brutal. I was pouring water down my back at the water stations. When I crossed the finish line and received a medal, I was empowered. The training began in earnest and I signed up for the Shamrock 8K. For some weird reason, I thought the race was a 5K and when I realized it was 8K I began to doubt myself. My worst fear was that I would not be able to finish.
My father was a track star. I lost him way too soon. I decided I was going to make this race a tribute to his memory. I took a break in the fall to go to Ireland where I accomplished another goal, which was to play the bodhran drum with an Irish band. I ended up on stage with a group from Riverdance. I also played with a group in a pub and they suggested I stay in Ireland and be part of the band.
When I returned, I began training again and timing myself. I only actually did the full 8K about six times before the race. The whole church choir was praying for me the day of the race. I had been worried about the weather. Wind and heat were my worst fears, but I didn’t have to worry. There was some wind, but not enough to cause any problems for me. The people cheering us on and the signs gave me extra energy. I think I would have made my Dad proud of me when I not only finished the race, but got 3rd in my class.
I’m not done yet as I’ll be in the race on Labor Day. I feel I’ve accomplished my goals, but now I’m training for my health. And I’m grateful for everything the Shamrock 8K and everyone involved in my endeavor did for this non-runner who now races. BTW I’m 80 years old 🙂