My final Motivation Monday of 2013 is dedicated to those who join me as “back of the packers.” Thanks to surgery recovery and tendonitis in my left arch that WILL NOT GO AWAY, I’ve been in the back of a lot of packs this year as I’ve walked and sometimes limped a few 5Ks.
What does a red lantern have to do with being in the back of the pack? I’m so glad you asked. Each year Alaska’s Ididerod dog sled race gives a Red Lantern award to the person who finished last. That’s right, an award for finishing last. Years ago it began as a joke, but over time it has become a coveted award that signifies guts and perseverance. There’s even a Red Lantern Banquet given in the recipient’s honor.
We back of the packers actually show more fortitude than the swift ones. We’re on the half marathon course for more than three hours. That’s three hours of constant movement. By the time we finish, the age-group winners have already had their ice baths. We’re a tough lot.
And so, my fellow back of the packers, thank you for hanging in there. Thank you for not quitting when it would be so easy to give in to the pain, the sunburn and the blisters. Thank you for joining me in experiencing the joy that comes from being out there and trying. Thank you for understanding that if you’re wearing a race bib, regardless of your pace…
You’re an athlete.