I had the incredible pleasure of watching my daughter at the start and the finish of the 2009 Tufts 10K. She had been training for this day; she did hill training and tempo runs with her dad. She was focused on running the race in under 1:10. It wasn't about the time - it was about setting a goal and exceeding her expectation of what she could do. She started in the mid to back of the pack of runners wanting to go out slow - start strong and finish stronger which is the race mantra. I saw her determined step as she crossed the mat to activate her chip. There were over 8,000 runners at the start yet I could see her among the runners with that spring in her step and the eye of the tiger.
Once all the runners were off, I found a spot right along the corridor of the finish line on Charles Street. We could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Temperatures were in the low 50's - cool for Columbus Day but a brilliant sun warmed the day. There was no wind and no humidity.As I sat enjoying this beautiful fall day in Boston, I focused my thoughts and energy on my daughter having a great run. Since we had run the race together last year, I visualized her along the course sending her my love. She was running by herself but she was not alone.
The front runners began to come down the stretch and then the elite runners followed by throngs of runners. The race announcer kept congratulating various runners and would say over and over again, "Don't let anyone tell you you can't do something." As I looked at my watch and the race clock I knew my daughter would soon be heading down the stretch. I thought to myself, how will I ever find her among all these people. I had friends who were also running and thought I could not concentrate on finding them - I wanted to focus on seeing my daughter come down Charles Street. It was as though the pack of runners had spread to each side so I could see my daughter proudly approaching the finish line. The time when she crossed? 1:09 - she ran an 11:13 minute mile. This was 2 minutes plus off of our pace last year.
She looked exhilarated and energized and told me that the entire race was like an out of body experience. She walked through every water station and made sure she stayed hydrated. She ran a smart race, a fun race and as she said when I met her at the finish, she felt empowered and wonderful. She was amazed at how her time had dramatically improved. She told me that there is no way she could have run that pace a year ago.
When we checked her results on line I noticed the name of a woman who I met through my Marathon Run last year. She saw me cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon and told me that I had inspired her to get into a health and fitness routine. I felt so proud and honored that she ran the Tufts 10K this year because I inspired her with my own courage and determination.
I had thought that I was through with running because of the cervical spine disease and the toll that training for and running the Boston Marathon had taken on my body. After hearing yesterday's race announcer and seeing so many women in all shapes, sizes and with many different challenges I decided that once again I will not let anyone tell me I can't do something. I will take this winter to heal and to get stronger and next October I will proudly take my start next to my daughter for the running of the 34th Annual Tufts 10K.
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