There we are… the mama tiger and the little tiger.
It’s unbelievable to me that it has nearly been a year since we took this photo at the finish line of the 3rd annual Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K. What a year it has been! There has been so much inspiration, so many changes, and so many miles covered. And much of it I can link directly to momentum that began during the preparation for last year’s race.
Last year, I wrote a post about my involvement in the race and my connection to a beautiful, radiant soul whose life was taken too soon, Chelsea King (you can read it here– please do!). It was an especially intense process for me, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I wrote at that time that I would carry in my heart the lessons I had learned long after the race had ended. I was right. On all of those levels- physically, mentally, emotionally, I have never been the same.
One of the most readily apparent changes is that I became a runner. A real runner. At this time last year, I was amazed that I could run 3 miles without stopping. Now, a 5K fun run is actually fun for me. Three miles is a light running day. I have even gone on to compete in several 10Ks over the last year.
In each of those races, and on most other days I run, I wear a little orange bracelet that I was given at the finish line of last year’s Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K. On one side, it says “Chelsea’s Light Foundation,” and on the other, “They can because they think they can” (the foundation’s motto). Whenever I put that bracelet on, I am instantly reminded to count my blessings. I am reminded to be grateful for every opportunity I have to do my best. I am reminded of Chelsea. If Holly is feeling lazy and making excuses about lacing up my shoes and hitting the road, then do it for Chelsea. That always does the trick.
The foundation’s motto has also become a mantra for me. So much of my progress as a runner is a result of mental, rather than physical, fitness. As long I keep my thoughts in positive territory, I continue putting one foot in front of the other. If an “I can’t, this is too hard” somehow creeps in, my body stops before I realize what is happening. This is a lesson I learned early on in my fledgling running career, and it is one that I’ve learned applies in everything I do. I call upon it daily, as a mother, as a runner, as a yoga instructor, as a human being who wishes to do good in the world.
Admittedly, my preparation for this year’s race has been quite different from last year. For one thing, running a 5K is not something that I need to train for months to do. For another, I will be nearly 8 months pregnant on the day of this year’s race. I have continued running throughout my pregnancy, though distance and pace went out the window months ago. Since this year’s race is guaranteed to be an entirely different experience for me, I spent some time thinking about how I wanted to approach it and what would be the best way to honor the spirit of “Chelsea’s Run” this time around. I decided that doing everything I could to hold space for joy, hope, and positivity with every step I take in those 3.1 miles would be a fitting way to honor Chelsea’s legacy. How best to do that? Bring my little tiger. He has become a runner in his own right in the last year, competing in a couple kids’ races, winning some medals… you know. Although he can really tear it up when he gets going, it’s usually in short bursts. He’ll be a great running partner this time around. I just know it.
So there you have it… the 4th annual Finish Chelsea’s Run 5K will be a family affair for me- both of my children will be coming along to support me and the cause. It is quite fitting, in fact, since the Chelsea’s Light Foundation aims to create a better world and a brighter future for children. The 5K is the foundation’s primary annual fundraiser, benefiting their Sunflower Scholarship Fund. This fund provides educational opportunities for exceptional students who might not have access to them otherwise. Additionally, this year’s event is being co-sponsored by the Girl Scouts, an organization that was a big part of Chelsea’s young life.
Now, the rallying cry, my friends… please support Team Tiger in our efforts to help Chelsea’s light shine! If you feel moved to stand up and support our cause, we have a fundraising page that will be accepting donations through race day on Saturday, March 1. This is such a wonderful foundation and an amazing group of people that I truly want to do all that I can for them. Click here if you agree!
A huge thank you to you for your time and support! And, as always, thank you to Chelsea, the Kings, and the Chelsea’s Light Foundation for being an endless source of inspiration!