This past weekend I was at Disney World Orlando for a runDisney event – The Star Wars Dark Side Challenge – a weekend of running, park hopping, child dodging and endorphins. The challenge consists of running a 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday, I also opted to run the 5k on Friday to collect all of the weekends medals.
My girlfriend and I normally work out together listening to our own music via headphones, as anyone who works out with a partner knows, communicating can be difficult with headphones so we decided to put her minor in ASL, sign language, to use! I really only know the numbers, adjectives and profanity at this point but it is enough to get through a workout without having to take off your headphones – life saver. When I run I also wear headphones and a headband – the wires for my PowerBeat 3’s is usually tucked up into my headband, not visible to others and the headphones covered by the band also.
*Back to the story*
On Sunday, with a race temperature somewhere in the 80’s, I made the onto the world showcase heading towards France, somewhere in mile 12. As I scanned the course ahead I noticed a cast member on the side cheering for the runners but, something was different, she was cheering in sign language! As someone who normally thanks volunteers and cup holders at water stations I didn’t even think before I signed back to her with a thank you… She lit up like a rocket ship, a tree on Christmas morning, or Tuco Salamanca the first time he tried the blue.
At this point I was tired of running and the knee pain was starting to set it, I didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until I neared the finish line that it dawned on me, this cast member could not see my ears nor headphones and she thinks her day of signing impacted her intended target. I’m not sure if I’m upset that she ‘wasted’ it on me or elated that I could bring the joy to her and to motivate her to keep cheering for others.
At this point most races blur together after the finish line but this is an experience I will not soon forget.