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First 5K with daughter is a special race for Dad

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By Mark Brockman

 Each day you can get up, and make a difference in your life.

You can walk, or run, or bike, or swim, or just move. Why don’t you get going and do yourself a favor that will make you, and those who love you, amazed at how you’ve improved your health and wellness. Why am I asking about excuses? It’s because I witnessed a young lady do something very brave and unusual a couple of weeks ago and I wanted to share it with you. This young lady has Crohn’s disease. She is 24 years old and was diagnosed with the disease four years ago. If you don’t know much about Crohn’s disease, I’m going to give you the short version. It is an intestinal/colon disorder that effects the body every day. Some days are good, some days are bad, there is a constant battle to keep the disease under control.  The opportunity to encourage and coach this young lady arose as she expressed a desire to get in better physical shape to help her battle Crohn’s. She joined the YMCA and began to work out regularly. Then she sprung it on me that she’d like to run a 5K race. A daunting task for anyone – in perfect health – but even a greater challenge for one facing the daily drain from Crohn’s. I was a bit worried about her stamina, but hey, if you’ve been reading these articles for long you know that my motto is “you can do it!” When she had trained up to a level at which she felt ready, she invited me to run along side her in her first 5K. May 8 was the big day. Throo the Zoo is a race that starts and finishes at the Louisville Zoo. For a 5K, it is challenging in that the course has plenty of hills toward the end of the race when the course winds through the zoo itself. It was cool and windy when we lined up for the start and I could tell my partner was a bit nervous about what the next three miles of running would hold. I was too. I wanted to be there and encourage her to keep going, but I did not want to push her too hard. Her goal was to finish in 36 minutes.  Off we went, excited to be facing the challenge head on. We talked about fun stuff and kept our minds occupied as we ran along the course. At about one mile, my partner began to feel some pain and was doing her best to push through it. We decided to walk for 90 seconds and then try running again. That short break from running did the trick and she was able to pick up the pace without pain and continue. When we reached the two mile mark she was skeptical, could this be two miles already? I reported our time to her and she couldn’t believe we were pacing that well. On we jogged to the finish. The last mile was tough with those hills in the zoo, but being able to see the animals was a great distraction that carried us along.  As the finish line came into view, I’m not sure which of us was more delighted. We high-fived as we crossed the finish line at a full two minutes under her goal. We both misted up with tears of joy as we turned in our tear-offs to the race officials.  What a privilege it was to be a part of this       experience. I am so proud of this young lady who conquered not only physical limitations, but also her uncertainty of whether she could make it to the end.  Of course, I was proud of this young lady way before she conquered this       challenge. She is my daughter, Jessica. She’s already planning to do another race in June and asked me about what a 10K was like. I guess I’m a bad influence on her. I ran my first marathon after I had a heart attack a few years ago.  So what’s your excuse? Be a part of the Oldham County Grand Slam of running. Sign up at http://www.OCGrandSlam.com and punch whatever it is that’s holding you back in the mouth. You can do it!   The views expressed in this column are those of the writer.