Over the weekend, my husband and I participated in the 5th annual Run to Home Base at Fenway Park. The Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program work together to help Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans and their families who return home with the invisible wounds of war such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) which are estimated to affect one in three returning Veterans.
The Run to Home Base is a 9K (5.6miles) run through Boston and Cambridge that finishes on home plate in Fenway Park. Most of the course is along the Charles River with a great view of the skyline of Boston almost the entire route and the crowd along the way was just great. Finishing in America’s most beloved ball park was a great feeling, especially because we got to high five and shake the hands of our nation’s finest as we crossed home plate. We thanked them, as they thanked us. It was beyond rewarding.
Prior to this race, I never really took the sport of running seriously. Sprints and laps during high school sports’ practices were dreadful and I was almost always one of the last to finish the 2-3 laps around the field/court. It was almost as if I imprinted in my brain how I could never be good at running; and as we all know, it is very difficult to enjoy something if we do not feel we are good at it.
When we signed up for this race, I was convinced I would be ready on the day of the race with at least two months of training behind me. FALSE. I was lazy and still thought I hated running so I ran maybe twice a month until roughly two weeks ago when I picked up a few more runs per week. I had several discouraging runs – where I could barely breathe for 0.25 mile or had sore calves at 0.50 mile; letting my disappointment conquer my motivation, I would proceed to WALK home…instead of push through.
Saturday morning came and I set a realistic goal in my head of the timing I wanted to finish the race in..keeping in mind I did not properly train, wasn’t necessarily in great shape and also have never run this long of a distance……EVER.
Not only did I finish in my last minute goal time, but I was back at running this afternoon. 48 hours later, I was ready to do it again and do it well. I never thought I could even finish Saturday’s Run to Home Base without walking at least the last mile, but I surpassed the expectations I had of myself.
With motivation, confidence and no negative thoughts or feelings about the sport, today I ran my fastest mile ever. I am still not an elite runner. I am still not a marathoner or half-marathoner, but I set a personal record Saturday and today, and for that I am proud of myself. Previous to today, my fastest mile was one minute slower than it was today. All I needed was the positive mindset to know that I. COULD. DO. IT.
Don’t ever give up…on anything. Believe in yourself no matter what it is. And when you think you can’t do something, go out and do it so then you know you can do even more!!
If you are interested in next year’s race or simply would like to learn more about The Home Base Program, please see their links below. They also have Facebook and Twitter links listed on their site.
A special thank you and shout out to those of you who helped my husband and me by contributing to this cause. We appreciate your support of this amazing organization!
Each and every one of our military personnel are heroes who put their lives at risk while leaving their families at home to keep us safe and our country free. I will forever feel indebted to them.