Free

Old School 5k

The 4 dawned hot, sticky and humid. I got up, dressed and ate my usual yogurt before donning my tutu and heading out the door.

I arrived at the old schoolhouse just in time to write down my name and pay my $5. This is a very small town low key race.

We lined up behind a chalk line on the pavement and after a basic instructions from Higdon jr. we were off at the sound of the air horn.

I took off at my snails pace towards the golf course and 2 nice downhills….that are tough uphills coming back. The course travels through a lovely golf community of homes and I was annoying the scenery. A young boy of about 8 passed me running with his dad. He was thumping along and having fun. That fun soon withered about mile 1. He was walking more and dad took off. He commented that he just needed to catch his breath and wished he had water with him. Mom mode kicked in. I am never without a squeeze bottle of water (easier for sharing) so I asked if he would like water. He brightened and said yes. I told him his only goal was to stay in front of me and I had water if needed. He was struggling and his dad was no where in sight. I was worried. We got to the turn around and he told me he was to wait there for his mom who was walking the 5k. Do I leave this little boy sitting on a Rock at the turn and kept going? I was worried but knew the bike sweeper was behind me and would find him if his mom was not there. I decided to let him sit and wait on his own.

I continued on quietly thanking those wonderful residents who had already turned on sprinklers as I ran through each and every one of them! The cool water felt like heaven on my skin. I rounded the last turn and headed back towards the golf course and those hills. I was spent and drenched. I walked up the 2 consecutive hills and then took off toward the finish. As I was closing in on the finish I saw the dad of this boy coming towards me. He had already finished. I yelled out that I had given his son water and left him on the rock waiting for mom. He grunted and looked away. Really? Are you kidding me? You left you kid running alone on an 80 degree/88% humidity morning with no water and you can’t say thanks, wave or even smile?

I let it go and headed to the chalk finish line. I did a little pirouette as I crossed and was given my certificate. No bling but a certificate of completion and the opportunity to choose a T-shirt from the Higdon family collection.

I waited to see my little buddy cross the finish line. Mostly to make sure he was ok but also to give him a high five. Eventually he ran across that line just in front of his mom. I walked over to high five him. Then began to head home. I heard his mom ask who I was and he responded, “that nice lady helped me and gave me water. I think she is a mom”

“Well honey. Don’t talk to people you don’t know. You don’t know what she was giving you.”

I walked away deflated, frustrated and angry. I know that we live in a different time now but for this woman to chastise her son after both she and her husband had left the kid running alone on a hot, sticky morning. This community is like Mayberry RFD. No one comes here that does not know someone and everyone knows everyone’s business. Plus most people are related!

Lesson learned from this race: we are only as free as we allow ourselves to be. Peace.

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