|The kids giving the "Ready, Set, Go," for the big race.|
Two weeks ago, I was waking up, not wanting to peek outside to see what the weather was doing. The previous week was filled with snow, cold temperatures and your basic gloom. I knew race day may not be as great, if the weather didn't cooperate. But it was sunny-Phew!
What wasn't sunny, was my attitude about the flooding that had occurred in the basement the day before, so before I was off to the races, I was meeting with a plumper and making future plans for a visit from good old Roto-Rooter. At times like those, I really really miss Dave's handy dandy do-it-yourself skills. Everything ended up being a basic clog, and the Rooter guy didn't even pull out any My Little Ponies or Power Ranger action figures, which I thought could be the culprit.
Anyway, that whole business put me a little behind schedule that morning. So, we all hurried (at least I tried to get everyone to hurry, but four year old have no idea what that means) out the door and headed for the park. I parked at the first open spot and told everyone to grab hands and "HURRY" once again. We hustled to the edge of a steep hill that leads to the park and there I had to take a moment. In my mind is a snapshot of the hundreds of people that were already there. To say I was overwhelmed a would be an understatement.
A couple weeks earlier, I knew that there were only 25 people signed up. That could have been a little awkward on race day, if our family made up 20 percent of racers.
By the time we were running in, all the kids were being warmed up by none other than Justin Armour, and the Manitou mascot, Manny the Mustang. That brings me to a side note.
When Dave and I moved to Manitou, I was a little uncertain. Dave was in love with Manitou before we even moved in but I, personally, wasn't sure that we could live up to the cool factor that seems to reside inside most Manitoids. He convinced me that it would be a good fit for our family, despite our lack of coolness. I have said so many times, since Dave died, that I'm so relieved and grateful that I live in this area, because it is unique in the sense that there is a real feeling of community. All that to say, they had bussed high school kids over to the race to help out. Again, overwhelmed doesn't even seem to express how I felt and feel even as I write this two weeks later.
Without the high schoolers there, my kids wouldn't have run the kid race. When I tried to get the girls to get lined up to run, they would have none of it, but as soon as Holly, our high school babysitter, suggested it, they were lined up and ready go. The kid run was so cute. At the end, all the adults, made a tunnel for them to run under. I wish I had a picture of Maci and Leah at the end. In true form, Maci came running through the tunnel with high fives and huge smiles. Right behind her was Leah with rolled eyes and a look that said, "Who on earth would call this a fun run?" They are so funny.
After the kids' fun run, the adults were up. As I headed to the microphone to say a few words, I was examining how I was feeling. I had anticipated a feeling of bittersweet. I figured that I would feel happy to be so supported, but sad for the reason that we were there. My assumption was wrong, though. This part is going to sound cheesy, at best, and maybe even like I am making it up, but it felt physically impossible to feel sadness or sorrow at the race. I only felt excitement and joy. It literally seemed like Dave were present. I don't know how that sounds to other people. It sounds fabricated and like something someone would say on a Hallmark movie, but it really did seem like he was there. I can't fully explain it. It seemed like I would be dishonoring him, if I were sad. I, for reals, (to use a term from 7th grade) kept feeling that he just thought it was so cool that there was a race in honor of him. I just knew that he was so proud of his Manitou community, his work community, his church community and even all the people there, who he didn't even know. There was no way that he wasn't smiling huge, and for that, I couldn't stop smiling (except from maybe mile 2 to 3). Unfortunately, my excitement didn't propel my running to a new level, but I did run the whole race, if that counts for anything. Thanks Misty and Brittany for running with me.
Speaking of thanks, I can't thank all of you that volunteered and helped out with the race, enough. I am still amazed with how every detail was so professionally done. I can't imagine all the work that went into it. Thank you so much, Laura Morgan, for birthing this idea and for carrying it out. I can't express to you, how important it was to feel that sort of joy again. Not to mention the almost $15,000 that it raised for our family. How unbelievable is that? Seriously!?! Unbelievable!!!! Thank you all so so so so much for being a part of this amazing day. I'm not exaggerating when I say, I would definitely point to this day and say that it was a kind of turning point in my new life without Dave. I sure miss that guy!