Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Freedom's Run Marathon--Part 3

The Freedom's Run marathon is so named because of the fact that it runs through some areas critical to Civil War history.  John Brown.  Harper's Ferry.  Antietam.  As I mentioned in part one of the story of this marathon, the race was preceded by a person singing some of the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  The war ended with freedom for the slaves.  Part of the discussion around the war was states rights--freedom in a different way.  So there are lots of freedoms right there.

But I can think of other freedoms that went along with this race.

First, the freedom just to be the runner I want to be.  I run at crazy times.  I run a ton of miles.  I enjoy running with friends.  As we were chatting with someone along the river, I mentioned the people I train with.  He commented quickly that I don't train with any guys.  I think the last time I ran with a guy was one weekend last summer.  And occasionally there will be larger groups that include guys.  But I have the freedom to do what I want to--with two constraints.  I have to minimize the interference with my family life and I have to make sure I don't fall behind at work.  And I do both of those.

Second, the freedom to dream.  My last dream was getting below 3:10 in Philly.  This year had begun with no plan to run a marathon.  The marathon plan came in May.  And it feeds into my next dream.  An ultra marathon in South Africa.

Third, the freedom to share that dream.  In sharing that dream, I have the chance to inspire others.  And when I inspire others they share my dream.  And then they can help me with my dream.  My kids think I'm a little crazy but share the excitement of my dream.  My fellow runners all think it is an exciting dream to share.

Fourth, the freedom to run where I want and when I want.  That is also completely key.  I have enjoyed running around the city.  Through many areas.  From Belvedere Square to Patterson Park.  Canton and Federal Hill.  At crazy hours.  And when the freedom was limited, I was mad this spring.  I have learned not to take the freedom for granted.

Fifth, the freedom to run far.  And that freedom was showing on my face when I was running a sub-8 minute mile late in the race.

Sixth, the freedom to enjoy my success and the freedom to enjoy the success of others.  Running is a great sport as it is great to share the runs.  And that brings people close together.  And then on race day, it can be just as exciting (and sometimes more) to see and share the success of another as to succeed oneself.

Seventh, the freedom to recognize when the ties that bind become ties that constrain.  In preparing for the race, I had hoped just for once to run an entire race with a friend.  I'd never done that before.  When we reached mile 17 or 18, Lauren started to tell me I could go ahead.  I waited.  I even mentioned that if we were running the Marine Corps marathon rather than Freedom's Run that I'd feel compelled to stay--after all the idea of leaving no "soldier" behind (or runner behind in this case) is deeply ingrained in the US military.  But Lauren recognized the sixth freedom I mentioned.  She wanted me to succeed as much as she wanted to succeed.  And when she recognized the struggle she was having she wished only one thing--that I would succeed.  At that point, if I had not gone ahead, the ties that bound us as friends would have become the ties that constrained--unnecessarily.  Lauren ultimately could take care of herself.  I had no doubt of that.  And I was set free to run.  To be everything that I could be.  To prepare for the next dream.

Those are the many freedoms I have.  I sometimes take them for granted.  I live them all to the fullest.  

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