Sunday, May 17, 2015
HopeAnne decided she wanted to run in the Girls on the Run 5K. She didn't participate in this organization during the school year because she's not yet old enough but when we found out that their final event of the year was open to the public and then when she found out that some of her friends would be there, she wanted to go.
This was her first 5K without a running buddy. In the past she has gone with Jesse and/or Megan and one or both of them stayed with her the whole time. She was a little nervous about knowing the route but we assured her there would be plenty of people along the way to help and suggested that if in doubt, follow the crowd.
We should have known that it is never a good idea to tell your children to follow the crowd. Especially when that crowd includes 4000 people.
It was a 2 lap course and coming around after the first lap she was about 20th overall.
And then when we should have seen her coming toward the finish line, she was nowhere to be seen.
The Good Doctor, who was farther down the course came running up to tell me that he saw her at the final turn and instead of going up toward the finish line, she looped around for a third lap.
We checked the clock. She would have had a 27.30 time.
Instead, she was still running strong. She did admit later to having to walk a little during the 3rd lap. Good thing. I was afraid she was going to collapse.
My fears began to get the best of me. I was afraid not only for her physical safety (thinking she would not know when to stop or would be fearful of letting people down if she stopped) but for her emotional well-being. Would this cause her to hate running? Would it negatively affect her self-esteem when it was supposed to do the opposite? Would she be a crying mess when we finally found her?
While The Good Doctor took off backwards on the course, trying to locate her, I started praying. Thank goodness because those worries quickly became prayers of trust. God had her in His hands. There was a reason for this, although what, I had no idea.
He finally found her and ran with her until he could send her sailing through the finish.
To our complete amazement, she shrugged off the whole thing. We tried to play up the fact that now she knows just how far she can run, and it's a whole lot further than a 5K.
And then she told us she just wanted to jog back to the car.
What went wrong at that turn that should have been her last? Turns out it was a combination of factors. John spotted her just before the split and yelled, "Go left!" She ran a few more strides and couldn't remember what he'd said. She asked someone running near her who told her it was their first lap and she assumed they were on the same loop as her. They weren't. Also, as she looked at the area where she should have turned, she said she saw all the bystanders blocking the way so she thought it was the wrong direction. The poor volunteer assigned to that area had been trying to get the bystanders to back up but they weren't listening and not enough large groups had come in yet at that point to cause them to have to move.
That's okay. We have one very happy girl who ran her heart out, went the extra mile so to speak, and found out that she's stronger than she thought she was.