Saturday, May 23, 2009

Running with GIANTS

Giant Redwood trees as tall as a 30-story building paved the way for the 37th annual marathon/half marathon at the Avenue of the Giants run in Humboldt’s Redwoods State Park on May 2, 2009.

I felt like an ant running through the majestic redwood groves. The trees stood like skyscrapers in the forest. I was awed by the sheer beauty of the 2500-year old giants. But there was another giant lurking around. The giant “elephant in the room,” was my achilles pain. I abstained from running for 4 weeks to allow for adequate healing of my right foot.

When race day came my foot was only 80% healed, but I wasn’t about to opt out of my race. Many people expressed their concerns…and for good reason. Call me rebellious. Call me stubborn. Either way, I was going to finish my race even if I had to walk it.

Everyone who ran the race had the same determination as I did―even more. Amanda had blisters on her toes that pained her with every step. But she continued trekking along at a consistent pace with sheer determination, never once complaining.

Palmira took a nasty fall halfway through the run that produced 2 large, bloody lesions and swelling as large as a tangerine on her left knee. Risking a tendon tear or a fractured kneecap, she hobbled the rest of the way to the finish with courage.

Amber suffered from a stabbing sciatica pain early on in the race. Most people would probably throw in the towel and call it a day, but Amber relentlessly walked the entire 13.1 miles to cross the finish line.

And Matt, who endured radiation and chemotherapy, is in remission from his cancer. He ran his first half marathon that day. He is the reason why Team In Training members run. He is our hero and yet, he wanted to run for us. He called “us” heroes. It was an honor running with him.

The unbelievable tenacity of the redwoods to survive 25 centuries was representative of the tenacity of my fellow runners. They displayed courage, determination, and unwavering faith. Their spirits were as large as the giant redwood trees. Yes, I ran with GIANTS that day.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.


  1. Awesome post! Sometimes we get so caught up in our own "race" that we miss the big picture, and we need to look at those around us to really put things in perspective.

    God Bless, and keep running!

  2. Beautiful post Romelle. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.



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