Thursday, February 17, 2011

14 laps = 1 mile

Tuesday, it was the day for Taylor (name changed) and Chester's BIG MILE JOG.   Really big day.  For those of you runners and 5k-ers and 1/2 marathoners and marathoners, this might seem pretty small.   BUT for Taylor, it felt like the Ironman. HUGE.  Though fully capable of reaching his mile-goal, this young boy had never made it. He had never succeeded at finishing the race.  Loni, his therapist,  knew that for Taylor, accomplishing this goal, well..... it carried the potential of being life-changing for him. He could move from can't do, to can do mentally & physically -- not only in the mile, but in life.  

Good therapists do not give up.  And, after multiple mile-meltdowns and failed attempts, Loni had an idea.  CHESTER :-)    Chester took the challenge.

Tuesday was race day.  14 laps around the Schreiber hallways equals 1 mile.  Taylor and Chester put their toes on the masking tape stuck to the floor, saying START/FINISH in big bold letters.  Taylor gripped Chester's red leash, and it was clear from the start that these two were a mighty duo.  With all the gusto of an Olympic Official, Loni spoke the words, "Ready, Set, GO!"  And we were off... all four of us were off and jogging, (Taylor, Chester, Loni, and me), and three of us knew....this race was for Taylor.  Lap after lap, Taylor kept the pace with Chester. Lap after lap, Taylor's hopeful Mom held the little whiteboard high, counting our hallway circles.  Lap after lap, Taylor and I talked about Chester and at least a FEW other 2nd grade topics. :-)  But, here's the thing,  for 14 laps, Taylor did not think about Taylor. He didn't think about tiredness, or the sweat dripping down his face, or bathroom breaks, or thirst, or pain, or hunger, but instead focused on his happily-trotting, tongue-draggin', waggy-tailed friend.

When Taylor and Chester at last crossed the finish line, arms and tails raised high like Olympic athletes, well there was cheering throughout the land!!!  The smile that spread across Taylor's face, Taylor's entire being for that matter,  said it all.  He did it!  He worked hard.  He persevered.  He didn't quit. He achieved his goal.   The Victory. There's nothing quite like that feeling of success, especially after blood, sweat, and tears. It spurs you on to dream big dreams.

Loni had prepared a celebration in advance. She hoped this would be the day, and it was. Running a mile had never been so sweet---for any of us! 
Taylor, you can be proud of your great run.
  Well done!  You are a champion!

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