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What 8,000 People Can Teach You About Resilience

Although the Minneapolis Get in Gear races were almost 2 weeks ago, it was such a great event that I’m still replaying the highlights in my mind. I’ve been meaning to write all about it, but have been so afraid of not getting the right words out. Afraid that in the midst of the Boston Marathon tragedy, I wouldn’t sound authentic. Afraid that anything I write would never capture how it all felt in the moment. But then I decided to just write the same way I run the middle miles of a race. One foot and one word in front of the other.

The Minneapolis Get in Gear is called the “annual rite of spring,” which was so appropriate this year because it really did feel like the first day of spring to us Minnesotans. With winter dragging on and way overstaying its welcome, it was great feeling the sunshine and being able to chuck the winter running gear (even if all of we Minnesotans had to bring out the hat and mittens a few days later). I honestly couldn’t wait for that feeling of sweat evaporating off my skin instead of it wicking away into one of my long sleeved winter shirts.

Get in Gear has 3 race distances – the 5k, 10k and half marathon and draws an awesome crowd. Minutes before the 10k and half marathon started, the voice over the speaker system announced 8,000 registered runners.

It was such a treat being among 8,000 since this was the race debut for the new Jeff Galloway Twin Cities Group. Can’t you just imagine how huge the crowd was? So many runners all in one place. It was so elbow-to-elbow packed, that our Jeff Galloway group of runners quickly dissolved into the crowd. We still felt connected though with our Jeff Galloway shirts and interval timers.

Some of our Jeff Galloway group members posed for a pre-race pic.

Some of our Jeff Galloway group members posing for a pre-race pic.

Every pre-race morning, I’m usually struggling with anxiety complete with dry heaves and emergency restroom stops. Not this time. At first, I thought it was weird that I wasn’t nervous for this race. Then it dawned on me that – oh yeah – I get to run this race with my group. It’ll be like any other Saturday group run among friends and supporters.

With the Boston Marathon tragedy still 2 weeks fresh and on everyone’s minds, race organizers planned a moment of silence right before the start of the race. But with so many jittery runners ready for the race to start, all I heard was the same buzz I hear before every race. Small conversations laced with nervousness and runners doing last minute checks of their tech devices.

Even without the literal moment of silence, or printed “Run for Boston” shirts scattered throughout the crowd, this race so soon after the Boston Marathon showed me that every person can honor the tragedy by banding together to run.  Without words, it’s a way to honor the resilient heart of runners.

What I still can’t get over is that for the first time it felt like I belonged in the running community. It struck me near the mid-point of the race when I took a moment to feel my place among the mass of runners. I looked ahead and kept looking until I grasped that I was part of a moving current of 8,000 runners stretched along the Mississippi River. Whenever I’m in need of running motivation, I’ll always have that vision to remind me that I belong here, linked to my fellow runners.

The very best part of every race is the finish line. The finish line of the Get in Gear, though, was more than taking those last steps toward that victorious line. The last steps of the race across the finish line really represented the first of many finish lines for the New Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway group, including all of the stories that go along.

Don’t you love a good finish line story? Like our 68-year-old Jeff Galloway group member who dedicated 8 weeks of training to be able to cross the finish line of the 5k. And the group member who shaved 4 minutes from her best 10k time.

Yes, the Minneapolis Get in Gear was full of proud moments for me remembering the hard work and miles put in to get this Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Training Group started, running, and crossing our first finish line.

Are you interested in training for a marathon or half marathon? Maybe you have a desire to run and just don’t know where to start. Well, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Jeff Galloway Training Groups offer 5k, half marathon, and marathon training to all abilities. New training programs begin in June! For more information, visit the Jeff Galloway Training Groups website.

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