Two days before the race I started to get a huge pit in my stomach. I was so nervous and just couldn't shake it. I was driving Chase crazy! I kept telling myself that all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and I'd be fine. Sounds easy, but I guess the anticipation of the race just made all my nerves go to my stomach.
The first few blocks were the hardest for some reason as all that adrenaline went to my legs, turning them into jello. I quickly turned my iPod on and got into the groove and didn't stop running until I crossed the finish line.
My unspoken goal was to run the race in 2 hours, 10 minutes. That's a pretty average run and something I felt I could accomplish. I was actually on par to finish under 2 hours, but some serious pain started in my hips and knees at mile 6, so I was thankful to just keep moving at that point. I finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes.
The highlight of the race was seeing Elias and Chase at mile 10. Elias was on the sidewalk so I jumped up there and ran towards him. He took off running towards me and threw his arms around my sweaty neck, screaming "Go Mommy!" It was such a sweet sight seeing his hop-skip-run and filled my eyes with tears at the thought of his perseverance in life.
And here's my favorite story of the race: For those who don't me in real life, this is a very "Meagan" story. It's common for me to not really think through things before I try them and I'm quite absent minded. I lose my keys several times a day. (Actually I prefer to say that I temporarily misplace them.)
So, I thought that I had read in my packet that there would be gatorade and gel packs for energy being passed out at a couple of the water stations. I had never tried those gel packs but thought I might try one around mile 10 for an extra energy boost. At the water station I slowed down to look for the gel packs. I didn't see the packs, but I did see someone dipping popsicle sticks into a container and then holding the stick out for the runners. I thought that was a pretty ingenious idea to just have to lick the gel off the stick instead of trying to open the gel pack.
So I grabbed my stick and immediately scraped the gel into my mouth as I raced off, anticipating a miraculous surge of energy. However I immediately knew something was wrong as my mouth filled with a tasteless goo.
I ATE the vaseline!
I spit it out of course, but it was all in my teeth and mouth. Not quite the energy boost I was hoping for, but the laughter alone carried me at least another mile! I'm such a smooth athlete. Not! (The vaseline is supposed to be applied to your skin to prevent chafing).
My Race for AHOPE goal was $2000, and as of Sunday, the total amount raised was $1,656.00! I am thrilled, and so is the AHOPE staff!
I've had several people say they wanted to donate a little bit but forgot to do it last week. So if you were planning to donate but didn't get around to it, you can still follow the directions here. AHOPE can continue to receive donations indefinitely. As long as you write "Race for AHOPE/Meagan Brown" in the designation line it will count towards the goal amount for my race.
I am requesting that the Race for AHOPE money to go towards a portion of the sponsorship of a boy I'll call N. He's been at AHOPE for 3.5 years and is 8 years old. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up and likes to study Math. His favorite food is hamburgers. The good news is that he's in excellent health right now and has not had to begin an anti-retroviral therapy. I so wish I could post his cute picture here for you all, but the Ethiopian privacy rules prevent me from doing so.
The rest of the money will go towards AHOPE's Child Development Center/Community Outreach program. This is a phenomenal program that AHOPE has recently implemented that equips and trains extended family to raise HIV+ children. This allows the kids to receive the quality care they need but to stay with their loving families.
And if you're new to AHOPE and inspired by the amazing work that they do, you might be interested in sponsoring one of the children in their care. We have found such joy in having the opportunity to sponsor kids there. We love to get updates on our sponsor children's lives throughout the year and new pictures to put on our fridge. You can learn more on their website http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/.