- October 1, 2017
- Posted by: Topher Morrison
- Category: 49 Things Before I Turn 49
I’m not a runner. I never will be. But I admire those who are, and I’ve always wondered what the fascination is. So it seemed only right that one of my adventures before I turn 49 is to run in a race.
Alejandra Zilak is the creative writer for my company (Don’t judge her for any grammar mistakes or typos in this blog – she didn’t write this one or proof it). She’s Puerto Rican, and if you know anything about me, you’ll know that my employees are my family. So when hurricane Maria destroyed her island home it affected everyone at the office. Every day we would ask for an update on her family. Last week she shared that she was heading over to Orlando on Saturday to participate in the Rebuilding Puerto Rico 5k. All you had to do to participate was bring a box of non-perishable goods to be shipped to the island. It was the easiest split-second decision I’ve ever made.
“I’m in! I’ll be there!”
And just like that I became a runner. Well, a runner who had never run or trained for a race. No matter; this was for a great cause and it was my way to show my extended family in Puerto Rico that I cared. What happened next filled my heart with gratitude.
I posted on Facebook that I was going to participate in the run, and if anyone wanted me to bring a box for them I’d be happy to deliver. And just like that, I had some friends and clients step forward committing to help.
Within a week, I had a car full of supplies to bring to Orlando. Dana Kelly, Coleen Sterns Leith from Marketing Matters, Sarah McDugal, Anna Dutko from Round 2 Fitness, and Joy Melton from Florida Funders opened their hearts, and their pocket books. These people are the heroes of this adventure.
The night before race day I discovered there were no rental cars for me to access the next day due to a convention in Tampa. That’s when Anna Dutko, from Round 2 Fitness went above and beyond and loaned me her car for the day!
The morning of the race I got a bit behind and by the time I was on the road, I was 30 minutes behind schedule. No matter, I’m not a runner and didn’t want to be at the front of the line only to get trampled anyway. All I needed was to stop by a drug store to get some moleskin for my toes that already had blistered a bit from my dance lessons (See upcoming adventure #21 – Compete in a Dance Competition).
I ended up forgetting about the moleskin until I arrived at the park entrance. Knowing I couldn’t rip open any of my blisters, I headed back out to a drug store, and 40 minutes later I finally got to the race. Nearly 90 minutes late.
By the time I dropped off the supplies and started running, they were already wrapping up, and the guides helping along the race to guide the lost stragglers already started heading in. This lead me to getting off the course 3 times in total so I may have actually run a 6k, definitely a 5.5k.
I didn’t expect any great running times, but it definitely took me longer than expected. Not only because I got off course, but also because I didn’t even stretch or warm up when I got there. I was, after all, 90 minutes late, so I just started off running nice and slow to get the blood flowing. There’s a Facebook video of my gasping for air if you enjoy watching train wrecks.
So while I missed out on running with a mass group of people, I think I still understand the draw. I had a reason to run. I was, in my very small way, running for Puerto Rico. And I think when people run in a race they are running for something bigger than just themselves. As they run with a mass of people they are all running for the same goal, and that fuels them. While I didn’t have anyone running with me shoulder to shoulder, I had the great people of Puerto Rico, whether they knew it or not, all cheering for me.
If you would like to “run with Puerto Rico” click here to see how to get involved in your local area and help out our extended family from the U.S.