Run Caralyn, Run!

She stands 4′ 11″

Been that tall ( or short) for a very long time.

At one time, one of her life goals was to reach five foot- even.
Probably not going to happen.  But what she lacks in height, she makes up for in heart.

Caralyn never ceases to amaze us at times with things she sets her heart to doing.

We were left scratching our heads when she was in high school and came home and told us she had signed up for the power-lifting team. That was back when girls were just starting to compete in that regularly and we had no idea she had the strength she did and excelled in the sport at the level she did.

Next on the surprise list was when she changed her major after her second year of college and decided to go in to nursing.
We never saw that one coming…especially her own mother…who is a nurse.  We knew what a grueling road lay ahead of her.  But she dove in head first and set her mind and heart to doing this thing and graduated just a few months ago with her BSN/RN, nailed her boards, and landed a highly coveted job working in an ER department in Dallas.

But it was her latest venture that has me wanting a paternity test done on her.
She started running and just completed her first half-marathon.

I don’t get runners.  But she has become one… buying fancy running shoes and specially designed clothing and downloading special apps for her phone and all that hoopla.

The next thing you know, we are driving in to Dallas this past weekend to watch her compete in her first race.  I use that term loosely as one doesn’t really ‘watch’ a person run a marathon.  You stand there amongst the crowds of people to watch them begin the race.  For some reason, while standing along the start route with two cameras in hand ready to photograph her start, I somehow never saw her run by.  I was more than just a little irritated with that mishap.

The next step in ‘marathon spectating’ is jumping back in your car and driving through unfamiliar streets in a large city going through neighborhoods along the race route to find an ideal viewing spot to take pictures and cheer her on.  Between Kathy’s driving, and me trying to navigate – following a paper map of the race route and two hand held GPS navigators on our phones,  this made for some ‘interestingly tense’ moments which is probably worth a separate blog post of its own,  but I will put that on the shelf for another time.  Our first ‘ideal viewing’ spot went bust.  Saw lots of runners but had no way at that point of knowing where Caralyn was so we tried for a new spot further along the route.  Again, that made for some interesting conversation in the car trying to find such a spot.  But we did.

We ended up  in a beautifully groomed  neighborhood where we started seeing runners make their way up a rather lengthy and steep hill.  Kathy (who did this race last year herself) tells me while standing there, that she never bothered to tell Caralyn about some of these hills along the route. Didn’t want to discourage her.  I can see why.  The pain on some of the faces we saw as runners passed us at the corner for the next ascent made me hurt.

At this point, we knew where Caralyn was along the route thanks to modern technology and could follow her on GPS.  We were at the 6 mile mark as more storm clouds were gathering .  Kathy and I stood on the corner with rain coats, ponchos and umbrellas, along with my camera watching a string of runners pass us.  Other spectators had found this spot as well and we would clap and cheer them on.  (I am told that this has an incredible effect on racers)

I was a bit worried that Caralyn was going to be trudging up this hill with pain on her face and the fear of not being able to complete the race.  She had expressed to us the night before being a bit anxious and nervous about this race being her first one and never having run this far before.   So we were tickled when Kathy yells out “THERE SHE IS…THERE SHE IS!”

With a radiant smile and hands up, she trotted past us looking stronger than ever.  I fired off a few shots and then back in to the car we jumped for another ‘interestingly tense’ drive through more unfamiliar streets.

Then the skies opened up and the rain came down.  We found a new ‘ideal viewing spot’ on a street corner that was about mile 9 or 10 along the route. (The half marathon is 13.1 miles total)

Standing in a downpour with our rain gear, we couldn’t help but tear up with joy as we saw Caralyn’s mega-watt smile coming down the street looking more triumphant than ever. Holding an umbrellas to keep me dry, I was able to fire off a few more shots before we got back in to the car and started back to the original starting place where the runners would finish up.  By this point, Kathy and I were doing better with this type of navigating and were pretty pumped overall, with Caralyn’s progress.  We made it back and I was able to position myself up close to the finish line with my camera gear wrapped in plastic trash bags so I could capture her finish in a still steady rain.

What an exciting moment when she crossed that finish line.  What an exciting day.  Caralyn finished strong completing the race in two hours and fourteen minutes.

Watching the intense euphoric high she was undergoing after crossing the finish line was probably as close as I will ever get to experiencing that for myself. But she was certainly under the influence of something good.  We took her out for a well deserved meal and then dropped her off at her apartment before making our way back home.

I guess she already has signed up for her next race which she will participate in out in San Diego.  She has her heart set on doing another one and be it far from me to get in the way of anything this 4′ 11” power house sets her heart to doing.  All I can say is ‘Run Caralyn Run!”

To view the photos from the race day that I took, Just click HERE.

I also put together a video clip with music and posted it on YouTube. It’s below…Enjoy 🙂