September 6, 2010

Running With the Nuns

I'm not one to brag but I have to toot my own horn for a few minutes - I set a new personal best for running a 5K today!  Toot toooot!  This morning my family participated for our third time in the annual St. Charles Children's Home 5K road race at the Pease Tradeport.  My mother and husband walked while my father and I ran. 
     If you're not from NH chances are you probably haven't heard of the "Running Nuns".  St. Charles Children's Home in Rochester, NH is staffed by the Daughters of Mary Mother of Healing Love and accepts children who have been removed from their family by court order and are under the protection of the Division of Welfare. The grief and anger flowing from a troubled past tends to erupt in disruptive and sometimes violent behavior in these children.
     In the spring of 1996, the sisters had a “family meeting” with the children to talk with them about healthy ways to release anger and negative emotions. The children came up with many ideas to vent anger in healthy ways. Soon Rose—one of the most aggressive girls—was going for daily hikes on a nearby trail with Sister Maximilian. By the end of the summer these daily hikes turned into daily runs. Meanwhile, the boys became jealous when they heard that Rose could run more than a mile without becoming tired. Since then, the sisters and children run four miles a day and participate in local 5k road races during the year.  And yes, the sisters run in full habit - no matter what the temperature!    
     Back in August I ran the Cigna/Eliot 5K in Manchester and came in at 26:05 - a personal best at that time.  Knowing the St. Charles course (I've run this race before) and having such wonderful weather (temps in the 70's), I knew I could do better than 26 minutes - and I did!  My official time was 25:12 and I finished 7th in my age group (and first in my family)!  I even earned a personal record medal!  Woohoo!  But keep in mind that this is not my normal running pace and for the entire 25 minutes I was going I thought for sure the people around me were going to stop and ask if I was ok... I don't think I've ever breathed (or more accurately, wheezed) so hard in my life!  Had there been an EMT with an oxygen mask nearby I'm sure I would have been all over it...
     While there was no big presentation ceremony and medals were given out on the honor system, it was still a fabulous feeling know that last Labor Day I wasn't in any shape to run - I walked the entire course.  In just 365 days I've managed to trim 20+ minutes off my worst previous race time and a whopping 30lbs off my body. 
     Although fall is just around the corner my running season isn't over just yet.  On the 11th I'll be participating in the Concord-Merrimack SPCA Run for the Animals 5K (an organization very near and dear to my heart).  While I would like to break 25:12 for this race, I'll be happy to just to keep it under 25:30.  And if I'm feeling very ambitious I may run in the Wild Rover Halfway to St. Patrick's Day 5K in Manchester the following day on September 12th.  Check back next weekend to see how I did! 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, we ran some of the way! nice job!