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Finish the Race

Brian Gentry  – Landed Gentry Homes & Communities

So this past weekend, my family and I participated in the Tesoro Refining March Point Run.  It’s a great event in the Skagit County and Whidbey Island area.  Inexpensive, healthy fun for the whole family, all the proceeds go to the United Way, plus they feed you! 

The first thing we did was the Kids ½ Mile, which I ran with my 4 year old daughter Bella Kate (BK).  Her first distance race!  I think her parents were more excited for her then she was, but she was enthusiastic and doing well.   Then as we rounded the corner toward the finish line, BK told me she was “done”.  Really?  We were a mere few hundred feet from the finish line!  This must be time for a fatherly pep talk… so ensued the classic discussion about how we “finish what we start”.  So with a little encouragement, a few cheers from the sidelines, off she went and finished in a respectable 6th place in the 5 and under category.

The Finisher!

So then it was time for Dad (Me) to run in the 10k race.   I’m a recreational runner, not hard core, but over the past couple years I’ve ran some road events, including a few half marathons.  So a 10k should really be pretty straight forward.  Off I go, feeling pretty good, coming up to the first hill, then less than two miles into a 6 plus mile run, my heart rate shoots up… I actually felt like I might pass out…  I had hit the wall.

I stopped and started walking.  Feeling a bit dejected, my ego a bit tarnished, trying to figure out what was wrong with me, then all of a sudden I actually found myself thinking about quitting the race.  Quit?  Reasonable thought, I didn’t feel well, we had bit fighting a bit of a stomach bug during the week, may have contributed to my current condition.  There were plenty of good reasons to quit, to give up, try it another day.   In fact some might call that decision an act in sound judgment.

Then I thought back to a conversation that I had with a little 4 year old girl just a half hour earlier.  “We finish what we start”.  How could I look BK in the eyes and say Daddy didn’t feel well so he quit?  I just keep walking all the way to the next water station.  Took in some water and walked a little more, realizing that I’ve got to finish this race one way or the other…  so I started running again.  I’d love to say I ran the rest of the way, came in first, went home with the big trophy!  What really happened is that  I ended up walking a few other times as well, but in the in the end, I ran across the finish line with BK running out to meet me and cross the finish line with me. 

It was a terrible run time, but an amazing lesson.   Finish what you start… no matter what I’m doing, I find it feels the sweetest when I finish.  It may not be the prettiest finish, there may be a few bumps, scrapes along the way, detours, maybe you’ve got to come up with a “Plan B” or “Plan C” but get it done.   

Personally and professionally, there have been quite a few times over the years where “getting it done” seems nearly impossible, quitting seemed like the most prudent option.  Collectively as a family and as a company we have had to make some adjustments to “get it done”, but we are resolute in finishing what we have started.  As we endure, endeavor to overcome, it’s amazing how you begin to see the rewards beginning to appear.  I’m grateful that my little girl reminded me of this key principal… finish what you start.  I am excited to see what is going to be meeting me at the finish line.

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