On Saturday, February 22nd my son, Aaron and I ran the Gasparilla 5k with Team Freedom. Back in January I told you about the race and about Team Freedom‘s efforts with Abolition International to raise money and awareness about human trafficking. Several of you were generous and donated towards my goal of raising $400 towards this cause. Thank to your generosity, I met my fundraising goal! YOU GUYS ROCK!!
Friday night I attended the Team Freedom Princess Pasta Party in St. Petersburg. There were 260 Team Freedom runners in attendance for this awesome event hosted by Team Freedom’s sponsors, TheJoyFM. The night included delicious food, a video about the work that Abolition International does here in the USA to rescue and redeem the lives of girls who are sex slaves, a concert by Abolition International’s founder, Natalie Grant and lots of fun. The Staff of The JoyFM presented Abolition International with a check for $114,260.14 that was raised by all of the Team Freedom runners! It was an awesome night and I was blessed to be able to share it with my sister, Wendy.
Saturday morning we were up at 5:00am to get ready for a busy day of races. Wendy and a lot of Team Freedom were running the 15k that started at 7:00am. We went down and watched the start of that race and cheered on our teammates. Then Aaron and I went back to our hotel room to rest for an while. We arrived at the 5k start at 8:45am for our 9:30am start. We met up with some of Team Freedom as we listened to all of the directions given to us by race officials. We were running under “yellow flag” conditions due to the 100% humidity and fog. We were also warned to be very careful when running up the bridge at the first 1/4 mile mark. The bridge was wet from the fog and very slippery. The group I was with said they were woggers like me and they would take it slow…liars! Once we made it to the start line from our place in the corral, the group I was with took off! Aaron stayed with me for most of the first mile and then I told him to go on and run his race.
Mile 1 I had a good pace walking fast. Mile 2 was tough. It was difficult to breathe thanks to the 100% humidity. At the turn around near the half-way point the Rough Riders were there giving out Krispy Kreme Donuts! That may have been the best tasting donut I have ever eaten! I needed that sugar rush to push me through. By Mile 3 my body had finally acclimated to the weather and I found my stride. I was doing my run-walk intervals as it started to rain. At about halfway through mile 3 the rain became a deluge. Just before I crossed the finish line I saw through my rain covered glasses, some Team Freedom members cheering me on and high fiving me to victory. I crossed the finish line in 1 hour and 28 seconds only 6 minutes off of my best 5k time so far. I found my sister and then my son. Aaron finished about 5 minutes in front of me, I hadn’t lost as much time on mile 2 as I had thought 🙂
We were soaked through to the core. We got our luggage and headed home soaking wet and proud of the physical accomplishments of the day but even more proud of the fact that we sacrificed so that we could save lives of girls who are modern day slaves.