Recently I discovered an additional benefit of running — flexibility. I don’t mean the physical flexibility of arms & legs (although that too). I mean mental flexibility. The ability to respond effectively to new and problematic situations, or in the baseball vernacular, to redirect yourself when thrown a curveball.

I decided to attend a 5k at the last minute & register race day. Usually, I sign up for races in advance but every once in a while I do race day. I know some big races have registration cut-off days & don’t allow race day registration, but with local races I have never had a problem…until now. I drove down to Newtown Park in Johns Creek for the Run Your Happy Tails Off 5k, benefiting Happy Tails Pet Therapy. Once I arrived & saw the number of people there I knew it was going to be a very popular race. My 1st curve ball was not seeing a Race Day Registration sign at the race check-in table. When I asked where it was, they asked if I was pre-registered. No. Then a very apologetic volunteer told me the 5k race was sold out. Wow! I’ve never had that happen at a race before. The volunteer told me they were surprised at the amount of people who had come out in support of the cause, which is great for them. It’s a good organization. I don’t quite understand why a non-profit would turn people (& money) away from a benefit race, but I guess maybe the park had a maximum number of people it could hold or maybe they just ran out of bibs. Don’t know. Their website had advertised Race Day Registration, so I know they offered it at some point. Whatever the reason, the 5k was sold out. The 2nd curve ball came when the volunteer then asked me if I would like to do the 1k Fun Run. “1k? What?…That’s not even a mile, a waste of my time” was my internal monologue. “No thanks” was my actual response.  My mental flexibility took over, thank goodness, and I my response changed to “Sure. I’m already here…why not?” So I did the 1k, .63 miles to be exact, at a leisurely pace, with the kids & the adults with dogs who with either wanted a short run or, like me, got turned down for the 5k but still wanted to participate.

Once I crossed the finish line and got my Participant ribbon (sorta bling), I was going to leave then redirected myself to staying and doing my own 5k away from the crowd. I went in the direction of the other non-race runners at the park & in doing so, discovered the Veterans Memorial Walk which I enjoyed exploring. If you’re ever at Newtown Park, check it out. You won’t be sorry. Here is a blurb about it from the website:

The Veterans Memorial Walk at Newtown Park stands as symbol of remembrance and respect for all the men and women who have and currently serve in the United States Armed Services. The four-acre memorial features a hard scaped trail, circling a newly installed fountain, sponsored granite benches, a grand entrance plaza, and wooden gazebo. Along the trail, black granite monuments pay homage to each conflict, beginning with WWI and include special monuments for Purple Heart Recipients, POW/MIAs, and Women in Service.

Following my own 5k & the Memorial Walk, I stopped at the Farmers’ Market in the park pavillon. I still had money left over from the lower-cost Fun Run so I bought myself some tomatoes, avocados and green beans. Then I went home.

It turned out to be a nice Saturday morning. I got a run in, supported a good cause, paid homage to our veterans & scored some fresh vegetables. All-in-all, I’m glad I was flexible and didn’t let the curve balls shut me down. Actually…I think I knocked them out of the park!

Happy Running!