I’m sure we are all familiar with the concept of team – that ‘two are better than one’ and even ‘we are better together’. This became profoundly evident when I ran a 10K race … in the rain.
Now, to set the stage, I live in Phoenix – it rarely rains in Phoenix. And, when it does, it’s for ‘just a few seconds’. But, on this day it … RAINED! POURED! THE SKY OPENED UP! … all day long.
I didn’t want to run. It was cold (50*F). I’d get wet. It was early in the morning. I hadn’t trained enough. The excuses just poured into my head. But, we had out of town guests, who traveled from Indiana to run this race. I was stuck.
As I lined up for the start, I was in awe of how many people showed up. ‘Don’t they know it is raining’, I thought. And, they weren’t alone – there were talking cheerfully with their friends and family – those that came to support them, to cheer them on.
The gentleman organizing the start of the race was excited and his voice was motivating. I watched and reflected, as so many stood silently, feeling the drops from sky, proud to be American as the Star Spangled Banner played. Nobody seemingly bothered, but rather connected together as ‘athletes’ setting off to share the experience of running.
3, 2, 1, and we were off. It was a little more than a mile when I came upon the first set of volunteers, standing in the rain, ready to hand out water. I thought about how they would be there for the next 5+ hours to support the field of runners. I thought how magnificent and responsible they were to honor their volunteer commitment. It made me question my own commitment. It highlighted my complaining attitude and mindset. Shame on me….
Two miles further, another set of volunteers – Junior High and High School kids – yelling at the tops of their lungs, ‘You can do this!’, ‘Keep it up!’, as they handed me my Gatorade. It was then that I experienced the shift. The shift in mindset. The shift from ‘Whoa is me’ to ‘WOW, look at them!’ – The shift from ‘Pained Presence to Gracious Gratitude’ – The shift from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I can’.
What I didn’t share is that I hate running. I’m not fast, and each race I’ve ever entered is accompanied with this overwhelming sense of ‘I can’t do this’… ‘I haven’t trained enough’; ‘What if I can’t finish’; ‘I’m not equipped to accomplish such a feat’. It’s that voice in my head that continually nags at my esteem and questions my abilities.
Looking up and seeing all of the runners ahead and behind, noticing the multitude of volunteers of all ages where were present simply to do one thing – support me – bolstered my strengths and catapulted me forward! As I climbed that last hill, hearing the cheers of the crowd and seeing the tiny hands of the kids wanting to ‘high five’ the finishers, I smiled – proud of myself for running and finishing the race and ever so mindful that no great accomplishment happens alone.
To all of the organizers, volunteers and runners of the 2017 Lost Dutchman race – Thank You.
- Light Up the Sky and Change A World!
- “She didn’t change me but helped bring out my best self. They held up the mirror to show me my strengths and I saw my magnificence”
- “No matter what my previous experiences were, I am going to clean the slate and start off on a fresh tract”
- “With very little effort I was able to create a ‘change of world moment’”
- “I thanked her for coming to work … and changing my world because she truly makes a difference in the lives of others”