Monday, July 4, 2011
Peachtree #15 is a wrap!
I have enclosed some pictures from this year's Peachtree. I don't know who the big Peach was but if I ever need a bodyguard, I'm calling him first.
This was the hottest Peachtree I've ever participated in. It was in the low to mid nineties from about the third mile to the finish line. The heat and the fact that I only ran inside to train made the race feel like 10 miles as opposed to the 6.2 miles it actually was.
I finished in about 70 minutes which was great since I was in a log-jam at the beginning and stopped momentarily for pictures at the 3 mile mark with my parents and Aunt Susie. At most stops, you get water or a snack. My mom re-applied sunblock to my face and arms...ah moms!
The night prior to the race, Avery gave me a kiss and hug and asked me to win the race for her. I wanted to tell her the following afternoon that I won. My skin color was just a few tints darker on television, my legs were about a foot longer and my name was a few more syllables. I knew she'd be confused by my humor (as most people are whether they're from Kenya, the U.S. or anywhere around the world) so it gave me a great opportunity to explain to her what winning truly is. I said to her, "Winning isn't always finishing first. It's doing your best to succeed and accepting whatever place you come in whether it's first place, second place or even last place." She quickly replied that she eats noodles all of the time and that's why she beats me up the stairs every night and that if I eat more pasta, I'll see some results. I was laughing pretty hard inside.
My Uncle Bobby ran his 34th race but swears that he doesn't have many left in him. It's kind of sad as I feel like a period of my life is slowly closing. My Uncle Bobby won't be running the Peachtree one day. He reminded me that someday soon my kids might be running with me. When I first started running, I didn't even have a girlfriend and now in my 15th year I have a beautiful wife and two amazing children. Bobby was the one who pushed me into running this race and the one who ridiculed me when as a youngster I was too scared to try it. He used to joke "I ran it again this year. Did you see me on TV?"
Now here is irony. It's my uncle who is scared that his races are numbered and me telling him he can't give up just yet. Still if in 2012, Bobby decides to hang 'em up, I know one thing for sure. Around 10am on July 4th, the first call will come from me. "I ran it again this year. Did you see me on TV?"
If this blog doesn't fire him up to compete, I don't know what will.
It's hard to believe I've run 15 consecutive Peachtrees. Heck, according to the median life expectancy when I was born I was only supposed to live TWELVE years! Yet here I am. I ran the entire Peachtree. This race used to be my biggest fear. It used to be my biggest enemy. Now I see that I love it. I love the feeling of accomplishing something so miraculous year after year. I love the fact that I can write about the 90+ miles I've run on Peachtree Street over the last 15 years and hopefully help other kids and young adults dealing with their own physical issues to believe that anything is possible.
The Peachtree, like cystic fibrosis, has become something that has made me stronger despite the physical and emotional stress it puts on me.
This race isn't just a part of my life; it's what gives me life. Running is a key to my health. Finishing this race is a key to my faith. If I can finish 6.2 miles under the scorching hot Georgia sun, well then in my opinion, anything is possible.
I hope all of you had a safe and happy 4th and that all of you that ran the Peachtree had a safe run. I also hope you realize what an amazing accomplishment it is regardless of what physical or mental health challenges you face. T-minus 365 days till I go for Sweet 16! I'm off to train in Kenya this time around so I can win one for my daughter...or I'll just eat a lot more noodles.
Have a good week.