This weekend was a mental roller coaster. I’m always so happy to spend time with my family but obviously a suicide prevention run in honor of Kirk brings many tears and emotions with it. Friday night was the lantern ceremony. They kicked it off a little before dusk because there was a threat of rain. Even though it wasn’t completely dark, the moment was unforgettable. Hundreds of lanterns dotting the Dunkerton skyline, in memory of loved ones lives that had been lost. There were memories shared, tears cried and lots of hugs among family and even strangers. It is a moment I will carry with me forever. Afterwards in the hotel, we all toasted a delicious, cold Bud Light in Kirk’s honor and enjoyed our time together.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early for a 7:30 a.m. race. I was crying at the starting line as the prayer was said and the national anthem was sung. So many people wearing their t-shirts in honor of those they lost, some with two names on them. Some, so young like our Kirk. Thoughts of him flooded my mind and I was proud to run in his name, with those that I love most. We had a group of 17 either running or cheering us along. I set a new personal best time. I ran the race alongside my husband. I kept going when my legs wanted to quit so badly. I crossed the finish line 324th out of over 1100 people and I went back multiple times for the others in my family that hadn’t finished yet. But my proudest moment came from two very special men in my life. First we found Rachael and Amy. Then I went further to find my Dad. He was not far behind them and he was RUNNING! The 55 year old who had never participated in a 5K in his life, didn’t train a single day, who has an injured ankle and heart problems was running to the finish line!! I can’t even put into words the pride that enveloped my heart at that moment. Next came our cousin Miranda like a trooper. Then, we went back to find Lars and Mark. Mark, also in his 50’s and a 5K virgin had signed up the morning of the race. He has multiple injuries as well but he ran finished, with a great time, for his lost son, next to my brother, who has always been like another son to him. There was so much joy when they crossed the finish line and I knew that together our family had done something amazing. I knew that Kirk was watching and proud of us all. Mark and Dad served as a wonderful reminder that it is never too late. If you have passion and believe in a cause, it is never too late to participate in your first 5K. It is never too late to get behind something you believe in and that love will keep you moving, one step at a time, the way we have had to live our lives since August 12th, 2009.
I’ve been sick the last few days and today is no exception. I thought I was just feeling run down from the weekend but alas, I have a pretty bad cold. Who has a cold on the hottest day of the year? This girl. Ahhh! It’s put a real damper in my training and I’m pretty sure I’m out of the contest Scott set up since I wasn’t able to move Sunday or Monday, which totally sucks. I won’t be training tonight as I still need rest and I’ll be lucky to make it through a full day of work. Despite being sick and having to have two tires replaced on my car yesterday morning, which is a long story that makes me agitated so we’ll totally skip over that, I did receive some wonderful news to brighten my day. Two of my Biggest Loser Resort friends are coming to visit for my birthday party in July. Wendy is flying in from LA and Megan is driving up from St. Louis. I cannot wait to see my girls!!! Since my return people have often asked about friendships made at the resort and if there really is a feeling of Biggest Loser family. I say that there is no way to describe the bonds you make while you are there. This is proof of that. Two wonderful ladies traveling across the country to visit little ol’ me is the best birthday present I could ever ask for. I’m hoping to maybe get a few others here too for a mini reunion but we will see. Regardless, I know they will be with me in spirit and it’s going to be a wonderful time celebrating with friends old and new.