Our bodies are amazing, aren't they? The way they keep us alive & well is amazing. From a young age, we learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us about what we need; when we are thirsty, hungry, tired, weary, happy, sad, hurt, unwell, and every single other physical & emotional need.
Today, my body was telling me it was tired, after having a very early start to the day. So I had an afternoon nap. I awoke after half an hour to my alarm, telling me it was time to go and run the Bristol Race for Life. My body did not feel like doing it. My post-nap drowsiness & headache made the sofa seem like a much more favourable option than running 5k. After all, I had only signed up to the Race for Life at the last minute, and hadn't done any fundraising, other than my own contribution, so it wouldn't really matter if I decided to stay home.
I am so glad I didn't listen to my body on this occasion, and mentally overcame my physical weariness. Running with 3000 women to raise money to fight cancer is a far more powerful experience than running on the tredmill in the gym for a bit, then going home. I didn't know whereabouts on the Downs the race was starting from, but I knew I didn't need to worry. I just needed to look for the sea of 3000 ladies dressed in pink, who would most definitely stand out.
One of the items you get in a Race for Life Pack is a sign that says, 'I race for life for' then leaves a big blank space for you to write who you're running for. You cannot help but be moved by the number of names & messages you see that speak of family & friends whose bodies have been riddled with cancer; people who have fought & won their battles, and those whose bodies could fight no longer.
At the starting line I was stood behind two teenage girls. One had written on her back 'I race for life for all of the teenagers who are fighting cancer. I fought & won 5 years ago.' Next to her, the girl's sign read, 'I'm running for my sister. She's here with me today.' A lump rose in my throat, and tears welled in my eyes as I watched these two sisters interact with each other, thinking of their thankfulness that they still had time with each other, because this time, cancer had not won.
The messages & names that people had lovingly written on their backs gave a glimpse into the pain & suffering they have shared in, in a way that you wouldn't otherwise have. When we pass people on the street, I wonder how often we think about the painful events in their lives that they are carrying. To run alongside women who are wearing their hearts on their sleeves, along with their joy, sorrow and determination, is a marvelous thing indeed.
Thankyou, Vicki, for insipiring me to run the Race for Life.