EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the latest in a series by Kent Cutright as he trains for the Aug. 20 News and Sentinel Half Marathon. Cutright is a 43-year-old resident of Mineral Wells, who is an account executive and sports broadcaster at a local radio station and is a pastor at the Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
I have to say that I never realized how fast we are approaching the start of the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon until this past Monday. As we were warming up to go out and tackle our last seven-mile training route before the half, everyone gathered seemed pretty eager to go.
The attitude of some of the people around me was that of "it's only seven miles. We can do seven miles." I even heard one person chuckle and say, "I never thought I would ever hear myself say that it's just a seven-mile route."
Hearing them say that took me back to last year when I was training for my very first half because I too never thought that I would ever hear myself say, "It's just a seven-mile route."
As I continued to warm up and talk with my friends, it finally dawned on me that the half is rapidly approaching. I guess it is true what some people say; time does fly when you're having fun. Tomorrow's run is our final training run. It is only five miles and there will be a picnic afterwards for all the participants and their families. All those that are planning to attend the picnic were asked to bring a covered dish. Like I've mentioned before, one of the best parts of all this running/walking is the fact that you do get to eat.
So after the reminder about our final training run and picnic, we were off. We made our way through the park and came out by the tennis courts headed toward Superior where we would pick up 7th Street. As we were making our way toward 7th Street, a friend and I starting talking about our children heading off to college.
I had to laugh to myself because of the attitudes we have about our children going to college. My friend's daughter will be going away to college for the very first time and my friend is having a little trouble seeing their "baby girl" go, which is understandable. As for me, I will miss my daughter but I can't wait for her to go back so I can have the house to myself again.
As we made our way to the first water station, it seemed like some of us were starting to struggle. Don't know what was causing us to struggle, but something was. After a quick drink of water, we were off again.
As we made our way toward downtown, it seemed the problem was not getting any better but everyone keep on moving. We would remind each other periodically that we have done all these other training routes and we will conquer this one.
We made our way downtown to the city building where the next water station was located. After a quick drink we were off. But this time something changed, whatever was bothering us in the beginning was no longer bothering us now. As we were heading up Avery, our pace was steadily getting a little stronger.
We made our way past Parkersburg High School heading toward Washington Avenue. It was here that we saw another friend of ours who seemed to be having some trouble. With a little encouragement, they started running and we all finished at the park together.
If there's one thing I've learned from running, it is the power of encouragement. Scripture tells us to speak words that will build people up and this run really drove that point home to me. I listened to how people were encouraging each other along this route and witnessed the power that comes from speaking one simple phrase of encouragement. I've been blessed in my short time running to have people speak encouragement to me. That is why I want to encourage you to get up and get moving.
You can do this and when you do I promise you, you will find people along the way that will give you plenty of encouragement. I hope to see you out and about. God bless.