turn right at the duck



gingko leaf, originally uploaded by arahbahn.

If the above photo doesn’t look like a heart shape, please pretend it does. It did, when I first saw it. It’s all about heart.

I ran a 5k race this morning; it was a community event down in Red Wing, MN, one of the quainter-looking towns in south central Minnesota. It’s an hour’s drive south of here; I visit the town often in the summer as there is a good cragging area there. I registered for the race a week ago, when I first read about it: the charity is a girls’ running program. I figured, great! A scenic run, a race format. It’s good for my training, and for a good cause.

What fun! And, I got a PR.

Some of the unique features of this race, versus the usual summer 5k: Well, tons of girls and supportive family members. Also: most of the tables near the registration table were full of ways for the participants -mostly grades 3-8 girls- to decorate themselves and their race numbers. Colored hairspray, all sorts of free hair accessories from Goody (a sponsor), and plenty of markers, with which to make your number (everyone had #1) special. Prior to the race there was a “Zoomba” fitness class being taught on the lawn, then later, some fun dance warmups for everyone. This was great- as it was about 45 degrees out.

At starting time we got some instructions for the race: it was to be three laps around the park. At the ends of laps one and two, we needed to turn left at “the duck,” then at end of the final lap, we were to turn right at the duck, to head toward the finish line. There was a person walking around in a duck suit, during the warmup. I was a little concerned that said duck would be moving around at about the time that I would need to know where to turn. Alas, at the end of the first lap, I saw a different duck. A very large, stationary one, on top of a flatbed truck. I love small towns.

Near the end of the first lap, I came upon a young runner, with orange and blue (I think?) colors painted into her hair. She had just stopped to walk; she didn’t appear to be in any physical distress. I slowed just a little as I came up to her, and encouraged her to run with me. She did, for a few yards, then stopped, mumbling something about her nose. I suggested to her that she run with the next girl who came up to her, and she said ok.

I have no idea what kind of impact I made on that girl or on anyone there today, but I’m glad I was out supporting this program. I know that I get a huge boost from encouragement, especially in sports. I certainly did, from a few cheers as I neared the finish line, today.

2 thoughts on “turn right at the duck

  1. Sounds like a great race — wish I could have made it.

    Running on the cross country and track teams made high school a lot more bearable. The support and encouragement I got as a teenager, along with all the other benefits of running, made a huge difference in my life. Way to support such a good cause!

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