Thursday, June 05, 2008

NF Challenge - The results

It was a grey and cold morning for the first opening of June but fortunately no rain. I have to admit that I was secretly a little discouraged that nobody I knew showed up and there was a low turn out. After being in several events with hundreds to thousands of participants running, walking, rollerblading, or climbing for a cause, the small number of people attending our event made me feel insignificant and that people didn't care.
Ah well! Like other barriers in life, I can't let that defeat and stop me from my mission to make a difference.

In the 15 minutes prior, I took a little warm up run/jog so I could stretch my stiff and not yet awake muscles. When I returned I had a wonderful surprise awaiting that brightened my day. My friend Kate and her dog Cooper were waiting to greet me! Kate has attended this event with me in the past. It really meant a great deal to see her smiling face before the start and to see "Coop" again too.

Once we got started it was very cute. There were a couple of kids trying to keep pace or to keep up with me. One boy was determined in the beginning to be ahead of me. Yet, within a half mile he found out the importance of setting a pace and petered out (he did keep walking and running throughout the entire event to the finish). Then there was a young girl (maybe 9-12) that I could see out of the corner of my left eye running alongside me. She was running in a pink jogging suit so I imagined after a little while she was baking. I applauded her effort and was impressed that she kept up with me for quite a bit.

I have to admit it was a hard run. There were not any significant hills but it was early and I am not used to working my body out at that time (9 am). I was still stiff and felt as though I were an aunt running through a vat of honey. The particular trail we were on was not that interesting to me for running either. I was familiar with it as it is the starting route of the Seattle Super Skate I used to participate in (when I was able, rollerblading was much more preferable to me and I rather do that than run). Therefore, it really was a mental game and challenge to keep going.

I was so relieved when I hit the halfway point. "Ah........I am over halfway there!" I told myself once I had passed it. In running, completing over half the distance is a major mental hurdle and motivator. So if a 5 K is 3.1 miles, that means there was only roughly 1.5 miles left to go! Then you start to figure how much time it took you to run 1.5 miles and conclude it will only take you that much more. Even still, it takes more mental encouragement and will to keep you going. It is at those moments I try to reflect on why I am doing it.

Harley's mom and two of my former cohorts from graduate school had donated to my quest4NF. Someone believed in me and believed that we could make a difference. Someone was paying attention. They provided me with hope and instilled the belief that my efforts were not futile. I have to keep going and fight back for everyone who can't!

While I was trying to focus and harness this feeling to provide me with the drive to not give up, I passed my friend Kate and her dog Cooper. Knowing I am deaf and about deaf people, she was the only one to visually give me a deaf applaud to cheer me on (hands raised and wiggled back and forth in the air). This was just the extra umph I needed as there was a quarter of the course still to go. I answered back by cheering she and Cooper on and gave the same applaud.

The course was untimed so I used my own watch to time myself. There was not a clear starting line so I timed myself from where I began and back to the same place at the end which took me roughly 27-28 minutes. Sore and tired, I headed back out to cheer others and greet my friend Kate while I cooled down (this time walking ;o) ).

I was inspired by the number of young people (teens) and kids that participated. What a great way to start off life by working to bring about change and instill hope for others less fortunate.

After the fun run/walk there was a kids dash and hoola hoop challenge which was entertaining to watch. There was a boy and a girl who were amazing with the hoola hoops and I thought both of them would keep on going forever. Neither wanted to quit so it definately was a "challenge" or duel. The boy was older than the girl and therefore had some people coming over to distract him. He was still able to maintain composure but sooner or later he lost his rhythm for a brief moment which ended the battle.

During this time the local NF chapter also put on a wonderful bbq cookout which was very satisfying after a morning run.

Thank you WA NF Inc. for hosting this event for us and providing all the food for the cookout. It was very much appreciated!

Special thanks to my donors Melanie and Craig Breitbach, Matt Colgon, Cheryl Young, and my aunt and uncle Piron! Your contributions gave me the incentive to keep on pushing to get through this first event of my Quest4NF! :o)

The NF2 Motto - Never Give Up!

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