You know that fabulous feeling when you look up at the clock, and there are only seven minutes left in class? You start running a little faster, a little taller and you’re filled with both relief and a great sense of accomplishment? You’re soaked in sweat, and the class flew by. When you walked through the door at 6a, you weren’t so sure you could give it your all, but you did it! I have to be honest; I haven't had many of those “after-burn” feelings in a while. I haven’t run a continuous mile or much beyond a 6.0 in over three years. I have been injured (not from running! I think it was cycling). I was tired of being "injured" and finally had a total hip replacement six months ago. After a two month recovery, I was able to start taking Burn classes 2-3 times a week with my new titanium hip. You can often find me on treadmill 12 or 13 walking on an incline. I am the class modifier. Thanks to consistently and moderately training at Burn, I had the endurance and the mind-set to finish my first 10k in 20 years.
On Sunday, Burn 60 hosted the 3rd annual Run To Remember LA 10K and 1/2 Marathon. I wish you could have been there. The race was filled with emotion, meaning, gratitude, respect, and pride. We had over 5500 people running with a purpose. Over 2000 officers and first responders from across the country participated to honor those officers (friends and partners) who sacrificed their lives to protect ours. Think about that. These dedicated men and women hit the streets every day and put their lives on the line for us- total strangers. There was a beautiful memorial wall all along Grove Drive.
I ran past two officers who were shot in the line of duty and saved by their bulletproof Safariland vest. They were wearing t-shirts with their “SAVE” number. (FYI-There were over 2000 “SAVES” nationwide in 2017.) 40 District Attorney’s ran on Team Christina - in memory of a daughter killed at the Route 91 concert in Vegas. Families, kids, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, patriots, supporters, friends, military, mothers, fathers, foundations, and charities all ran for a reason. It was a race with a personal purpose. And so many stories. I was so proud to have our kids from Operation Progress, and The Watts Bears all running to honor the LAPD and their mentors who support and guide them all year. So many stories and they should all be told.
Each mile brought on a different emotion.
Mile 1: Slow and steady. Just breathe and keep a manageable pace. I ran with my friend Marika Foley (check out her ISTG themeanchick). It was her first 10k, and she was determined. Platoons of cadets and academy troops were running past us singing traditional call and response military songs. Suddenly I had this “I can do anything attitude.” Parents and children were walking as a family. Kids in strollers and wagons, holding signs or wearing t-shirts remembering a lost loved one. Then I saw a man in a wheelchair- Reality check. I picked up my pace.
Mile 2: I ran past my wonderful husband. He had a different mid-life crisis. He decided to become a reserve police officer at LAPD and Hawthorne at the age of 50. He is now on patrol and working gangs in South Central 3-4 days a week. He was marching in full uniform (it was wool!) with over 60 Chiefs and Commanders carrying his flag. This visual was so powerful. I was so proud.
Mile 3: I crossed the threshold of Paramount Studios only to be greeted by my family and officers from 100+ law enforcement agencies, and police cars with flashing lights flanked our running path while crowds cheered you on. You’re ½ way! Time for a huge adrenaline push. Then your heart sinks as you pass the posters filled with faces, names, and dates of every officer killed in 2017. It's hard to describe the conflict of emotions. I felt indebted, grateful, sad and inspired all at the same time. My hips were on fire, but quitting was not an option.
Mile 4: Now this is fun. Runners are heading home. Marika was running faster than me, so she went on ahead. People were lighter on their feet. You run under this huge American Flag on Melrose. I am proud to be an American. I think I am going to finish this.
Mile 5.5: You can see the final turn down the road, and it’s time to dig deep. How many times have you heard that expression? It resonated. I had no excuse. Crowds are cheering on the streets, and I realize that I’m sweating. My heart rate has been around 150 for over 30 minutes. I can work out again!
Mile 6: Pure inspiration and adrenaline. I am smiling. I take out my headphones out because I want to hear the crowd. Soak it in. The DJ is awesome. I run faster. You witness a sea of people at the finish line and then I feel pure joy. I did it. I never thought I would run again, needless to say, run a 10k. The funny part is, I felt like everyone who ran on Sunday was on my team. We were all in it together. (Remember Zac Effron and High School Musical? ) One purpose. One goal. Now that is my kind of community.
Thank you to everyone who participated and supported Run to Remember on Sunday. It is a cause near and dear to my heart. Thank you Team Burn- Kirsty, Danny, Brielle, Scott, Kris and Sam and Jose. It was such a special day - and you can never have too many of those.