Yesterday was a day of many firsts for me. It was the first time I'd run the Green Stride Half Marathonin Newburyport, MA (if you race and your local you should add this one to your list). It was the first time I'd run for a cause which many of you know was the Life is good Kids Foundation. It was the first time I've coached a team of adult runners of various ages and levels, in this case the Life is good Running team. It was the first time I've had a VIP experience at a race with front row parking and my own special bathroom, which, in a race as big as this one, was a HUGE bonus. On a more personal level, it was the first time I had trained with a coach to reach a specific goal. It was the first time I'd worn racing flats for a half marathon. It was the first time I decided to throw caution to the wind and go out faster than I normally do. And it was the first time I truly believed I might be able to do something big that, in years past, I hadn't thought was possible. Yesterday was also a day of taking risks. It was risky to wear my flats for 13.1 miles when the longest I'd ever worn them before was in a 5K. It was risky to push the pace at the start and try and hold on. And it was risky to trust myself and my decisions to do all these new things. All of these firsts along with all of the risks made the rewards that much sweeter. I realized how unbelievably gratifying it is to run a race for a cause instead of for a personal best. I was able to let go of all of the pressure that I typically put on myself and run solely for the kids who benefit from the Life is good Playmakers. THAT was my purpose yesterday. I was there, also, to be a good coach for the runners on my team. To make them feel comfortable and remind them that they had worked so hard over the past few months and they should be incredibly proud of that. It was to encourage them to have fun and embrace the experience; which for most of them was totally new. Then, after making sure I had fulfilled my role as coach and honored the organization that brought me to the race, only then could I focus on myself. This left me about 5 minutes total, which I used to deal with my iPod right before the start. It was hands down one of the best races I've done on so many levels. And the reward, well, the PR was nice, but the biggest reward was seeing it all come to fruition for everyone else.