This year's Al's Run was special for more than the typical reason. Certainly, we would be celebrating our courageous and exceedingly strong cousin, Zoe (and her equally strong parents, Ed and Kaleena), but we would also be celebrating my Run Buddy's return to racing. After a sidelining achilles tear last winter, Jenna has been working exceptionally hard to recover, and having dealt with surgeries and recoveries - and some running related injuries as of late - I know the amount of work that goes into getting better. Jenna has been extremely determined, and there was no way I would miss joining her at the starting line of the race that began our journey together as running partners.
Thus, we made our annual Al's Run plan to meet early in the morning. We'd hop on a shuttle bus and make our way to the Marquette campus and Team Zoe's meeting place; we'd stretch, chat, get more nervous than necessary, stretch some more, and then find our places in the pack or runners, all there to support kiddos like Zoe, who have relied on the exceptional care provided by Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. Seeing Zoe and knowing all she has been through in her short life certainly is an inspiration, one I drew on more than once throughout the course.
Knowing an injury is still there lurking in the rearview mirror isn't a thought easily silenced in a runner's mind, but crossing the finish line feeling better than expected makes for quite the runner's high. This year's run was both a challenging and rewarding one, and I am so glad I was able to participate once again. And I'm exceptionally happy that I got to do so with my Run Buddy, my cousin, my friend! I'm proud of us, and I'm looking forward to racing together again!
|JL and me with Ms. Zoe|
|Run Buddies ready for Al's Run #3|
|The Navarrete Ladies (minus a few who hadn't yet arrived)|
JL, Auntie Lynn, Grandma, Mom, and me
|with my mom|