It’s 4:30pm Monday night, and I’m standing under a bit of roof that juts out from the side of the local high school. My oldest daughter’s track team, the other coaches, a few of the more dedicated parents, and myself have taken shelter there from the pouring rain that has invaded our track meet. We’re on a 30 minute lightning sighting delay. Basically, we’re giving it a standard 30 minutes to get better or we’re going to call the meet off.
Track season weather in Illinois has been harsh this year. We have completed just one meet so far, and cancelled two. The one we did complete, we saw the temperature drop from almost 70 to under 40 during the 3 hour meet. We almost all froze.
So, here I stand, and I’m thinking about “How can I blog about St. Louis Family Fitness Weekend now?” An event I ran the weekend prior.
A couple hours before the meet, I sat down to write a glorious post about what will be one of my family’s great memories. We had had a fantastic time. My wife, Cortny, and my youngest daughter, Madeline, had run the 5K on Saturday (April 6th). I had run the Half-marathon the following day. My mother, sister, brother-in-law, and three nieces had all come up from Tennessee for some much needed family time, and to see us all run. We had all been to the zoo and had spent an entire evening climbing and playing at the amazing City Museum (highly recommend it). It was, quite frankly, an awesome weekend.
If I’d been less of a procrastinator, that would have been the blog. You’d be reading now of a family adventure. I did procrastinate though, and as I had sat down to write…literally as I sat down…texts started coming in. Facebook lit up on my phone. I quickly turned on my TV.
There, on my TV, had been the exact images from our weekend before. Oh, it was a different city, and different folks, but it was the same. The finish line and spectators were set as mine had been the weekend before. The signs were raised to cheer on Dad, Mom, Grandpa, Grandma, etc. My family had been standing right there, right by the finish line, to see me come in.
The runners had shown up by the thousands, some for the first time and others for the 50th. Some were there for a cause and others to prove it to themselves – all smiling.
So, I’m standing there a little stunned, and in a daydream, waiting out the weather with the team, and one of the kids says to me “So, Coach, you still gonna run?”
At first I didn’t get it, “What?”
“Now that they bombed the marathon? You still going to do that kind of stuff?” he asked.
“Dang Right I am!” I said with as big a smile as I could. “If anything, I am going to run further, and faster than before.”
At first he didn’t get it, “What, Coach?”
“Look, runners are the toughest, bravest, most dedicated people I have ever known. We aren’t easily taken down, and should never be counted out. The people I’ve run with will all be running harder, longer, faster. Some bad guys inadvertently made us runners a symbol for our country, and put it on our shoulders. They made a huge mistake. We can haul the load….and we will.”
And as kids do, he responded “Cool.”
The rain eventually subsided, and the track meet went on.