Thursday, May 5, 2011

My Penn Relay expereince

Its 4/28/2011 and 6:15pm and I am sitting in the airport wait to board my flight to Philly to run in the Penn Relays. So many years prior I ran in this meet and never really appreciated it for what it was. Just three weeks ago if you had asked me if I was going to run in this event I would probably said absolutely not. I had no intention in running in this meet. I was going to wait until I was 50 years of age where I would be the youngest in that age group.
Then in the beginning of March I went to visit my mother and father. It was good to see them but not in the condition my mother was in. Cancer has really taken a big time toll on her body and she is in a lot of pain and always sleeping because of the medication they have her on. My mom and Dad have done so much for my sister and I that I felt as though I just needed to do something for them. In that same week my mother had to quit her dance troop and quit the track team. The two things that she loved to do the most and looked forward to doing while in retirement but now she was physically unable to continue and she made that hard decision to resign in both things. This was a very hard thing for her to do and I could feel her sadness. Just staying alive was all she could do and I felt helpless watching her suffer as she was.
Then three days into my visit with them I got an idea. My concern was giving my mother something to look forward to. To give her hope and reason to fight and live so I began talking to her about my kids and how well my oldest son was doing in Track and Field and she began to cry. “I am so proud of you and your kids. You all give me the fuel to keep going even when I just want to give up.” For three hours, while she was awake, we talked and cried and talked some more. Then about three hours later she fell back asleep in her chair. A few moments later I get a text from a friend asking me if I was going to run in the Penn’s this year and at first I was going to text him back, “absolutely not” but then I thought about it some more and asked myself, “ why not run in the Penn Relays?” This could be the last track event my mother may see me in.
I have been running everyday and in Wisconsin any way I have not lost a race and was looking for a higher caliber of competition so why not. I decided on that day that I would begin my preparation for the event. The only problem was, I was not invited and did not fill out an application as of that date. I immediately got onto my computer and went online and, well what do I see here, an email from the director of the meet asking me if I would like to attend this year’s one hundred meter race. Well you don’t have to hit me over the head with a two by four I replied back by filling out the application and emailing it to him.
Now I still did not get my hopes up because they only take the elite runners. The runners who are ranked in their age group and most likely in the world are usually the only ones that get to compete at this event. I knew I had a really good indoor Champaign, I was number one indoors at that time in the 55 meters, running a pretty quick time, but that doesn’t guarantee that I was going to get in. Well now it is a waiting game.
A few hours later, well six to be exact, my mother wakes up and she looks up at me from her chair, “What’s up Kevin? You have very big smile on your face. What did you do now?”
“Actually I did nothing wrong but there is something that I am going to do and for you.” I said to her.
“What?” she said to me trying to lift up to relieve the pain in her lower back.
“What if I said I was running in the Penn Relays, would you go?”
All of a sudden her whole demeanor changed. She began to smile and tried to lift herself out of the chair. “You made the Penn’s! That is great! Of course I would go! I am so proud of you!”
The energy now that she had reminded me of the mother I use to know. The fire was back in her eyes and her voice was now not cracking but filled with energy and hope. I know I had just put my application in but I just could not bring myself to telling her that I had not been accepted yet. I did not want her to loss hope or a reason to continue and fight. “Oh lord I pray that I make it.”
However I wasn’t going to wait for the acceptance I began my work outs as though I had been accepted and was running in them.
Now it’s the day before the big event at 6:15pm and I am at the airport. My workouts were ok but not the best. Just two weeks ago I strained my left hamstring. I stopped in enough time not to pull it but it really put a damper on my preparation. It was kind of a weird injury though. I could still run and while running I had no pain. However stretching on it was and is very hard. I was afraid to go all out and work speed but when I did I would feel a little twinge and I would have to stop. Then just the other day while doing block work, I tweaked my lower back and had a problem just standing up. This problem ended me in the Chiropractors office. Then at that same time my neck has begun to hurt. Is this nerves? I don’t know. All I know is this, I am doing this for my mother and father. I don’t want to do this… I need to do this.

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