On Running, Attention, and Strange Sights

One of the coolest things about starting to run in the past year

Seriously… how did I miss this before? and WHY are her legs two different colors?

is that I have seen things I just would not have otherwise- whether that be because you can only get to them by going on trails or paths that cars can’t access or because I just get to pay attention in a new way while running. I first really noticed this when I got to do a sunrise run with one of my best friends on his wedding day. I didn’t even plan to run with him because I knew his pace was much faster than mine and that he was planning on doing the whole 8 mile loop around Mackinac Island and he was planning to start about thirty minutes earlier than I was (because again, going further was going to keep him out later) but he got a late start and ended up catching me in the middle of my little 3 mile run. I got to see the sunrise and to see the island in a different way than I had when everyone was up later. I got to steal a quiet moment with my friend on a very busy day.

This realization that running brought my attention to new sights intensified after joining Team World Vision and seeing things on my running route I just never realized before, even when they were also visible by car. For example, there’s this crazy big mural on the side of a storage unit that you CAN see as you get on the freeway, but only if you are lookin for it. When you are running along the canal, though, you can’t miss it. Now whenever I’m a passenger on that road I can’t help but see it, but for YEARS I drove that road and never noticed before. Then there are the sights on the canal that you can’t see from the freeway or regular roads. Unique statues and sculptures  I didn’t know existed, sunsets and sunrises that just look different when you are on your feet chasing them and watching them from start to finish than if you just glanced them out your window or came out to just snap a picture before heading back inside.

This idea of running and attention was definitely resonating with me on race day. During our team dinner the night before, one of the most beautiful things that was said when preparing us for the race the next day was: “God has a nugget for you during your race- so pay attention. if you don’t find it, you’re going to fast.” I LOVED this advice. So here are some of the moments I especially enjoyed on race day:
*The signs- I was told the signs would be amusing- and they were. Many made me laugh and just delighted me and took my mind off what mile I was on. Like these:

             

All. that. orange. LOVE LOVE LOVE

*The kids. The adorable little girl that had brought her Curious George stuffed animal and was using him to give high fives to the runners. The adorable other kids with signs, especially the ones that said “touch hear for a boost of speed!” and they would get SO EXCITED when a runner would touch their sings and it would “work” as the runner sped by afterwards. My own kids with their balloons and signs and cheering.
*The police officers who were keeping us safe and had traffic blocked off and who went above and beyond their job description to cheer on runners as they passed. Especially in those later miles!
*The Team World Vision Cheer station at Mile 11 and seeing my sweet teammate and fellow MOPS mama at Mile 12. Similar to seeing my family out there cheering for me, there’s something special about people calling your name as you go by that just helps you push farther! I started crying as I heard the World Vision spectators thanking me by name  for running for clean water. And speaking of water…
*The aid stations. I looked at the volunteers- so excited to help and hand out water and gatorade and fruit and to cheer us on. I thought about how we live in a DESERT and yet we still have enough clean water that all of us runners could take a quick sip out of an aid station cup and throw the rest away. And man was I thankful for the sips of water I got as I slowed down to take a drink before continuing my run.

*And here was the nugget God had for me- I got to watch the first marathoners cross the finish line just minutes after I finished my half. It filled me with awe and inspiration. That kind of athleticism is incredible to see and it’s because I took the time to hang around the finish line just a little longer to celebrate with a friend and make sure I wasn’t going to faint! The timing was just too perfect and I’m thankful for that unique moment at the end of my race.

 

I’m so grateful for the things I’ve seen since becoming a runner and I look forward to more unique moments exploring the world on my own two feet.

 

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