A Runner’s View of Sleighbell 2011

With finals, work, relationships and everything else life seems to bring at full force this time of year, it is hard to remember what true joy feels like. Not the type of joy of making an “A” on an exam or the joy you get from going out with friends, but rather, the joy that makes you stop and remember why this life is so special. I had one of those moments on Saturday December 3, 2011 when I ran the annual American Red Cross East Georgia Sleighbell 5k race at Sandy Creek Park.

I woke up at 7:09 a.m. and rolled out of bed imagining what I could possibly wear that would keep me warm for the day’s forecast- 34 degrees! After putting on my warmest socks, my tights normally reserved for skiing, a long sleeved t-shirt, a pullover and gloves, I ran out the door to find my car windshield frozen.

After pouring hot water on my windshield and remembering for a moment why I live in the South (I hate cold weather), I sped toward Sandy Creek Park. Arriving at the park, I found this picturesque landscape.

Amber Schreiner, a chapter public affairs intern and runner in Sleighbell 2011.

Fog stretched over the lake and created an air of mystery over the course while the sun fought its way through layers of dawn.

I was greeted by hundreds of beautiful people that were proud to wake up early and support the East Georgia Chapter while also staying in shape themselves. It is moments like these that make me truly grateful for the opportunity and privilege that I have. During the race, I tried to fight back my coaching instincts to tell everyone I passed (or that passed me), “Good job! Keep Going!”

Sprinting through the finish, I was filled with enthusiasm as finishers were gathered cheering for everyone else. Because running is really a personal competition, it seems support rather than hostility is always gathered at the finish line.

To my surprise, I ended up finishing 7th in my age group; but really, the beauty of the race was being reminded how wonderful this life can be if you let it.

The sunrise over Sandy Creek Park