Today was a pretty moving day and while I didn't have the best race physically it always feels good to be around inspiring people. This is the fourth year they've held this race to benefit a group called Kingdom Kids which helps provide relief to the families of children fighting cancer by fulfilling a wish for them. The race started for Lily Anderson, who is now 11 and still fighting this terrible disease, but also benefits several of the kids supported by the organization. Their stories are inspiring and heartbreaking. The courage of a little girl to face such unimaginable difficulty makes our regular every day challenges pale in comparison. The fact that suffering like that has to exist in the world breaks my heart. I ran this race last year and was certain that I'd do it again this year.
The race itself has moved to a new venue, one which I have run in the past and I know is quite difficult. Worse yet was the 1pm start, which isn't my best time for peak performance and add the fact that I ate a terrible breakfast, my mind was already in the wrong place to do well today. I'd decided I would just go do what I can and enjoy the day, especially since my girls were going to run the mile fun run as their first race ever. They were super excited and that wore off on me.
I started too fast as much of the first mile is downhill and completed the first mile in about 11 minutes. I was hurting already and knew the rest would be tough. There's a long uphill stretch in the second mile and I walked about half of that hill. Fortunately the race turned around at the top of that hill and I was able to roll a bit down the hill on the way back. I just tried to maintain a steady pace around 12 minutes when I was running. At this point I was passing a lot of people who went out fast and were walking, so at least I had that going for me.
Mile 3 went a little better and I walked a couple steep inclines but made sure to run in between. There was one guy who was walking and started to run a bit as I passed him in the last quarter mile. I was afraid he was going to try to pass me so I gave it my all, helped by the downhill to the finish and came across the line about 37:45. Nowhere close to my fastest time and honestly not one that I'm proud of, but I put in the effort and made it around.
Afterwards there was a one mile fun run. I asked the girls if they wanted me to run with them, but they said they wanted to do it themselves. "I want to be a brave big girl," one told me. So they headed out on a loop around the school where the race was while my wife worried about them. At the word go, one started out like a rocket, running fast with some of the other kids off the front while the other loped along at a steady pace. By the time they'd come around the other side where we could see them again, they were both walking. The fast one started running again as soon as she could see me though. As they reached us we told them that they had to go around one more lap and she asked if I'd run it with her. So I took off with them both. My "fast" daughter was about 50 yards ahead of the "slow" one, who just wanted to walk more. I tried to stay in the middle of the two of them and whenever I got close to the front one, she'd turn around, see me catching up and take off. It was pretty funny. She kept turning around and taunting me, which raised a few laughs from some of the people around us.
They both finished running, which was great and both told me separately later that they had fun. Overall it was a great race. Even being disappointed in my own performance, it felt great to come out to support some great kids who need our help.