First, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and is looking forward to a Happy New Year! I know I am… 2010 has been a year of ups and down, but happily I’m ending it on an UP!
I signed up for a race a few weeks ago that was cancelled due to a course problem, and I wanted to run another 5K before the year ended. Fortunately, I saw a post on Twitter last week about a local 5K called Bayler’s Birthday Bash.
Bayler Teal passed away from Neuroblastoma in June. He would’ve been 8 years old on Christmas Eve, so his family decided to organize the race in his honor and raise money for a children’s hospital. Over the summer, when the South Carolina Gamecock Baseball team went to the College World Series, it was Bayler’s ‘wish’ to see the the team play and win. Bayler attended the game, and the baseball team brought back a National Championship.
I pretty much knew immediately that I wanted to run this 5K. First, Bayler passed away from brain cancer, which is what one of my mother’s sisters died from when I was in high school.
I helped take care of my aunt before she passed away, and taking care of anyone with brain cancer is quite a challenge. I remember sitting at home with her on the day when her son, my cousin, graduated from law school. Not only was she too sick to experience one of the biggest days of her son’s life, she thought her son and husband were grocery shopping the whole time.
I can only imagine how difficult taking care of a child with a brain tumor would be.
Second, Jamison Powell, a young child from my hometown, also suffers from a brain tumor. Jamison, his family, and his friends celebrated Christmas last Sunday (December 19), because the doctors did not know if Jamison would live to see Christmas Day. While doctors are smart, they don’t always know everything, and Jamison lived to see Christmas morning AND the snow on December 26.
Finally, as Bayler’s family honored their son’s life and Jamison’s family made the most of each day, one of my coworkers’ families celebrated that their two-year-old son KJ’s body is not rejecting his donor heart. On Christmas Eve night, Kenton updated us that all of KJ’s tests came back negative with no signs of rejection.
It’s all a reminder that over 2,000 years later, Christmas is still the season of miracles.
The Bayler’s Birthday Bash 5K was on Christmas Eve, and since I had nothing better to do (I was even OFF WORK!), I decided to wake up even earlier than I do for work to go run 3.1 miles in freezing temperatures- I believe it was 34.
I got to the race over an hour early, registered, stood around a heater, and talked to a lady named Jennifer who was running her first 5K (gave her lots of running tips!) and talked to the race organizers.
You could really tell that Bayler’s family and friends were thankful for everyone who ran in the 5K. Everyone was so nice and spoke to the runners, offering water and fruit. Plus, at each turn and mile marker, the organizers had Happy Birthday balloons up for Bayler!
The race started a little late, but at 9:15, we were off and running- thanks to Santa! Over 150 people participated, so it was a pretty big 5K for Bishopville. Since Bishopville is such a small town, only about a mile of the race was actually *in* the town (I did pass the church that my coworker Ken pastors, though!). The rest of the 5K was through neighborhoods and down a country road- which didn’t bother me. The land of basketball and barbeque has tons of country roads :).
Apparently those country roads were really good to me, because I finished in 26:29.
Oh, and I want to emphasize changing your 3 week old contacts before running a 5K, because when I ran toward the finish clock, I could’ve sworn it said 28 minutes.
I PRed by over a minute and placed first in my age group- Of course, I changed clothes before the awards ceremony so I don’t even look like a runner in the finish picture. There were actually a LOT of 20-29 year old females running this one! In fact, over 160 people ran or walked it, which is really impressive since this was the first year for it.
It’s definitely not the last year for this race though, and I plan to run it every year that I can. It’s about a 25 minute drive from where I live, but it’s totally worth it to support a good cause, run in a new place, see lots of new places, and celebrate Bayler’s Birthday.