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09/18/2011

Running Renewed

Oh, if I only had a snapshot of my view as I turned eastward on Allegan this sunny fall morning into the sun. For blocks ahead of me, the entire street was crowded with hundreds of runners. The sunlight streamed onto my face and warmed my chilly fingers, and I was flooded suddenly with emotion, as it occurred to me in that instant how far I have truly come.

I have been struggling for months with running, having what I'd politely refer to as a 'love-hate relationship' with the sport. I had a few health-related roadblocks (pun intended) back in the summer and I had abondoned my plans to run the Capitol City River Run 1/2 Marathon today, meekly signing up for the 5K just this past Thursday. I still felt a little embarrassed as I gathered my registration packet this morning at the Lansing Center, seeing hundreds of 1/2 marathoners all around me. I fought the little voice in my brain telling me I was kind of a loser for not sticking to my training plan, for giving up, for quitting.

But as both distance's runners began lining up at their respective starting lines, I caught the excitement of the crowd and realized that for the first time, I was really excited to run the race. I'd gained the tiniest bit of confidence over the past week in an unsuspected epiphany on the treadmill, and I had a renewed commitment and passion for running that I hadn't really ever experienced before.

That view on Allegan this morning made all my struggles worth it...not just with running, but with my kdiney transplant and the years I spent on dialysis, too. I saw the golden sunlight and all the runners and I felt like I was part of something much bigger than myself. I felt elated. I felt free.

Turns out my timing chip got messed up and I'm not sure what my exact time was, although I do know it was considerably faster than my best 5K time to date. I saw so many runners finish the half marathon today that looked the same way I must have looked the first time I ran across a finish line, sort of a mix of determination and hope and satisfaction. It is easy to let these moments slip away when we are having a bad training day, or just a bad day in general, but keeping them close is what keeps me taking those next steps forward.

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Anna Kaschner

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