As the first site of sunrise slowly extends its finger-like rays over the desolate MacArthur causeway, the taste of a race pipes through finish line hungry runners. It was race day for many, but for Nationwide Van Lines, it was a time to leave the moving world behind to do something for more than just our clients. It was time to say "I finished my first 5K". Sure we have Navy Seals running with us, but this is just a drop of water in a bucket for them. For myself, Shahaf and Lielle....This was an ocean. We didn't want to make just our company proud, we wanted to make the many hungry Americans proud. Running for a selfless cause brings a tingle to your body, not the "my foot is sleep" tingle, but the "walking on cloud 100" tingle. This felt right.
There were many interesting people and groups getting ready for the run. From multicolored tutu's hugging the waist of ballerinas to Mr Dribble, who passed me effortlessly while dribbling 2 basketballs. Characteristics exploded all over the start line. You could feel the excitement all the way to the shout of "GO!"
We were off. I maneuvered through the crowd as if I was late for 5th period, looking forward to the view of the Port of Miami. Cruise ships dressed the port in a trim of giants, waiting patiently as if they were waiting on me to board. Motivation, pain, and exhaustion masked the face of those around me, placing the truth for all to see as we are searching for the same thing....Completion.
As the crowd thinned out, another giant stuck its head above the not-so-flat causeway. The highest point of the road ahead stared at me, knowing its caliber of effort it takes to go against gravity to the top. As my calves burned like hot Sprite, I made my way to the penthouse suite to intake the view. What a view, but just for a second.
Like a Wednesday, we all looked forward to a easier second half of the race. As the causeway decline increases, runners leaned back to keep their balance. This was the chance for many to rest for the final sprint ahead or effortlessly cover ground. As the sight of supporters increased, the finish line became more realistic, yet still not in sight. "Just keep running"chanted in my head as I approached a corner. But this wasn't just any corner, this was the final corner. The finish line jumped out like the participants of a surprise party once the lights illuminated the room. This was the end. This was the time to sprint. This was the time to be a winner.
After the swarm of greetings, shouts and claps, a memory decorated my neck along with the necks of my team. Our first medal for running. My first win with my company.
I felt like a kid again so I wanted to know what a kid actually felt about the race. I asked Lielle, age 11, "How was the run?" She paused. You always wonder what a child is thinking prior to their response, especially if they pause. "I felt like I did a good job". That she did. That we all did. As the race ended, stragglers searched for the shuttle ride back to the finish line. Everyone showing their joy of not winning alone, but winning together. Until the next run.