Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Rise and Shine Half Marathon (#27) - benefiting the ARC

The Rise & Shine half is a local half that benefits the ARC in Hattiesburg, Ms.  I talked about the ARC a couple of months ago in my Hobble Gobble 10K race recap.  It's a non-profit organization that helps kids with disabilities.  For the 2nd year in a row I would be pushing an ARC child during the half as part of the Freedom Rider group.  I LOVE what the Freedom Rider group does for these kids and had looked forward to this race for a couple of months.  

To push a stroller for a half marathon you need a team of 3-4 people.  Last year there were 3 of us and my shoulders and arms were sore for a week afterwards.  It's harder than you think.  Kathy would be pushing again with me and I had asked Sunshine to join us.  I had also started in January as part of my "strength" training for 2017 doing some arm work.  I'm super glad I started this because my arms and shoulders were not sore this year like last year.  

I was hoping that my sciatic nerve pain would not be bad like it was 2 weeks prior at the Blue Angels half!  You know I mentioned that I analyze everything... and had been trying to figure out why my hip/back/leg had started hurting so badly.  At first I thought it was the running verses the jog/walk program I had been doing.  But the more I thought about it, it was probably all the moving furniture, weeding my flower beds, planting flowers, putting out 25 bales of pine straw and pressure washing that I've done recently. ha  I prayed for God to give me strength and endurance for the half.  I didn't want to let people down after I had committed to pushing.

Colossians 1:11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

So it's finally race morning.  The half marathon started at 7am and I needed to be in Hattiesburg by 6:15am, therefore I was up and on the road EARLY.  As I was praying while driving in my quiet car, it hit me that Kathy had mentioned she was spending the night with Katherine so she wouldn't have to get up as early.  I didn't know if Kat was doing the 5K or the half, but told myself I'd ask her if I saw her before the race.  We could use a 4th person on our team. :>)  Luckily when I parked she was standing there talking with some of the Run4TheKids team members so I asked her and she said she'd love to join us.  I don't know who was more excited... me or Kathy. LOL  Sunshine had not pushed before so she didn't have the memories from the previous year of how hard it is to push like me and Kathy. :>)  Four on the team was going to work great.  We would rotate every mile.  YIPPIE.  We quickly got lined up and ready to start.  

Here's a pic captured by the local newspaper.

We were team "Braydon"!

Each time I've had the pleasure of pushing a different child which is cool because you get to see so many different personalities.  Braydon is 7 years old with down syndrome.  We were told that he would be able to get out of the stroller at the finish and run through the finish line.  I was looking forward to seeing him do this!  Before the race his mom was trying to get a picture and he stuck his tongue out.  Check it out:

Braydon was so sweet! He didn't talk to us during the race, but would point his finger or shake his head yes or no if we asked him something.  He kept playing with the seat belt trying to get it undone and pointing to the ground.  He wanted to run so badly.  We kept assuring him that when we reached the finish line we would get him out and let him run.  

We took a few pictures along the course.  They had AWESOME water stops!  

Several from team Run4TheKids pushing.  We were together for most of the first part of the race.  I enjoyed visiting with each one of them!  I honestly can't say enough about these people.  They are so very special!  Not only their time they give to St. Jude, but also many local fundraisers such as this race for the ARC.

Superhero water stop!

Seymour from USM ... Braydon smiled so big when we came into this water stop. :>) 

We even found Nestor along the course.....

Nestor changed outfits 3 or 4 times during the race.  He's a hoot! I'm so glad he's also part of team Run4TheKids!

By this time you notice that Braydon has ditched the blanket, kicked off his shoes, and then told us he wanted his socks off. :>)  At one part of the race he went to sleep for a couple of miles.  

It was a beautiful morning for a race.  The course is full of rolling hills so it's challenging.  As I was talking pictures and running, I was thinking about what the parents must be thinking during the race.  They had entrusted me and so many other runners to take care of their children!  I'm not sure I could have let a total stranger take my child.  Talk about trust!  Which we weren't total strangers.  Terri, who is over the Freedom Riders, knows each person that pushes.  We've all met out on the running field.  Several of us are good friends.  So I probably should say the parents trust Terri in who she lets push. :>) We literally had their kids for 2+ hours.  One team may of finished under 2 hours... Terri & Jason... two speed demons :>) As for our team we finished around 2 hours 40 minutes.  We stopped took pictures, stopped at the water stations and took it easy.  I actually forgot to stop my watch at the end due to all the excitement of watching Braydon run across the finish line!

Look at that superstar go!  I had no idea he could run so fast! I took a video.  It's all from behind because I wasn't expecting him to take off so fast.  Here's the video.. it makes me tear up every time I watch it!


As you can tell he was pumped to finish! 

Kat, Shine, Braydon and Kathy

Braydon showing off his medal :>)

We weren't the last stroller in .... LOL Results below:

It was such a rewarding day! I can't describe the warmth in my heart just watching these kids getting to enjoy something that they might not get to enjoy without the help of the Freedom Riders. I have a friend that has a child with down syndrome that always says.. "more alike than different"...  so very true!  My hip/leg didn't bother me too bad.  I think the stopping and walking some helped with that issue.  Kat did run over my foot accidentally with the stroller one time. LOL  It hurt, but I was able to keep going.  However, Sunday when I woke up and put my foot on the floor I could tell something had happen to my foot.  I went ahead and rode by bike 30 miles on Sunday followed by an easy 3 miler for a nice brick workout, but that's it.  I haven't ran since because my foot is so sore.  Ha  I'm hoping if I rest it that it will be OK by Saturday.  I have a sprint TRI on Saturday.  It's just for practice so it will be OK if I have to walk some and not run.  It's all about training and not winning for me. 

Ezra 10:4 Rise up, take courage, and do it!

Terri, who is over the Freedom Riders sent us an email on Monday thanking us for pushing and she also sent a message I wanted to share with you:

It's the "Be Attitudes" .... children with special needs.. 

Blessed are they who understand,
My awkward step and clumsy hand.

Blessed are they who know that my ears today
Must strain to understand the things they say.

Blessed are those who seem to know,
That my eyes are bright, but my mind is slow.

Blessed are they who looked away,
When food was spilled at the table today.

Blessed are they with a cheery smile,
Who encouraged me to try once more.

Blessed are they who never say,
"You asked that question twice today."

Blessed are they who know the ways
Of my heart and love me as I am.

Blessed are they who make me know,
That I am loved, respected, and not alone.

Blessed are they who ease the days,
On my journey to our Father.

Blessed are those who listen,
For I, too, have something to say.

Blessed are they who love Me,
Just Me, for what I am, Me. 

Take time in your life to find the joys. :>)  For me... pushing an ARC child was truly a joy I'll remember forever!  I look forward to other races pushing and meeting more of these special children!


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