Thursday, October 24, 2013

Running an 8K: That Wasn't On the List

No, this didn't turn into a personal fitness blog. But last weekend, I did something out of character. I ran an 8K. That's almost 5 miles. All at once, without stopping.

Don't worry. I haven't completely lost my usual sense of self. I did follow it up with Mexican food and fruit cobbler with ice cream.

After my sister and I ran that 5K on the Fourth of July, we were looking for another good family run. And not far from my dad's house near Springfield, Mo., is the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.

Wilson's Creek National Battlefield. Public domain photo, National Park Service
The park's nonprofit foundation was organizing a fundraising race on Oct. 19, and it seemed like a great thing to do on a visit to dad's house.

All we had to do was run the battlefield, an honor considering what had happened here before. On that August day over a century and a half ago, 17,000 of our countrymen fought in the beginnings of a war that would consume our nation until Lee's surrender at Appomattox in 1865. One of those soldiers was my great-great-great grandfather, Joseph Young, who fought with the Missouri State Guard and alongside the Confederacy.

So we had family, we had history, we had sisterhood, and we had a new physical challenge, which Dad decided to join. How could we not?

Despite the solemnity of the history there, the battlefield is gorgeous in the fall. The morning was cold, and Team Millsaps drank a lot of coffee. Then Dyan and I proceeded to go to the bathroom sixteen-hundred-and-eleventy times before the starting gun.

Only the starting gun wasn't a gun, but a civil war cannon. Let me repeat that: We started our run to the firing of a Civil War cannon. History geek me could hardly stand the coolness.

I just wanted to finish in under an hour; and I did, at 57:44:8. It's only my third competitive race ever, so I don't feel like I can call myself a runner yet. When do you start owning that label?

This was the inaugural event, and the organizers gave all the runners a participation medal. Y'all can say what you want about participation medals and the decline of American competitiveness. I'm ridiculously proud of that thing. I wanted to wear it to work on Monday, but stopped myself. I may, however, wear it on those days when I need to borrow a little awesome.

More than the medal and the pride of being part of such a great first event, I treasure running with my dad and my sister. We added another personal layer of family history to this particular place, and to our time together. It will always be special.

You can learn more about the Battle of Wilson's Creek at this link. 

The Bloody Hill Run was sponsored the the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield Foundation, and you can find out more about their efforts to preserve our nation's history here. 


  1. I am impressed! That seems way more fun than house painting. :-)

  2. Oh wow.....go you.....I don't think I'd even make it past a half mile without passing out cold and here you go and run 5 all together just like that....TOTALLY impressed!