This weekend officially commenced Chapter 2 of my running journey. I say “journey” and not “career” because, while running for me does embody the pursuit of various objectives (longer distances, faster pace, etc.), I do it more for the metamorphosis that takes place during each new pursuit, than I do for the actual achievement of a goal. I see this as a second chapter because my life has changed (in many ways) radically since I first began running. My body has changed from pregnancy, my fitness levels have certainly decreased, but most important, my time management skills are being put to the test like never before.
I signed up for the Freihofer’s Run for Women at the urging of my friend Linda. Now, I am not a big fan of the 5k; it’s over before it starts. It’s just too fast and short. I’ve never been fast, and don’t foresee that changing any time soon, so I’ve learned to settle in for the long haul and I’ve even discovered that I enjoy longer distances. Be that as it may, I haven't been doing much running of any length in the past year and a half, for obvious reasons. My more recent attempts at consistent running have been spotty, at best. I agreed to do the race, however, for the free box of cookies (Freihofer's is a bakery) and in hopes that it would inspire me to commit to a regular running schedule and find the thrill in training again.
Race mornings, I learned, are a little different with a one-year old than they were in “the old days”. For starters, I wasn’t fully rested since I was up with Jonas several times the previous the night. (He’s still getting over a bad cold.) 6:30 a.m. arrived too early, and the interval between then and the start of the race was a frenzy. It went something like this:
Stumble downstairs. Get coffee and bowl of granola into system. Think about getting dressed before Jonas gets up. Too late. He’s up and he’s unhappy. About everything. Try to feed Jonas. Pick up food that was thrown in every direction. Reminder 1 from Joe: time to go. Deal with the essentials—contacts, teeth, hair (well sort of), water. Slap on heart rate monitor watch which has been sitting bathroom cabinet collecting dust since Feb. 28, 2008. Reminder 2: time to go. Shit, will it ever be POSSIBLE to find two matching socks?? Nevermind. Ok, I think I’m almost ready. Joe’s got the kid and is headed out the door. Great. Reminder 3. “Do you have Jonas’ bag? What about snacks?” “No, and no.” Scramble for snacks, water, jacket, blanket. Resolve to never be this unprepared again. All things will be packed night before. Maybe even the kid, if I can figure out how to pull that one off.
Chaos aside, I actually had a great morning. Once I pinned my number and wandered through the throngs of people, an excitement stirred within. Plus, I was running with my dear friend, and my guys would be cheering me on. How much more could I ask for?
At breakfast, I had told Joe that I didn’t really care how I did, I was just going to run. All that changed as I disappeared into the energized crowd of 4,000+ women and girls, waiting for the start. Suddenly, I did care. It wasn’t about how fast I could do it; it was that I longed to push myself to my limit, to really give something my all. Hell, as far as I was concerned, it was a win that I even got myself there! Now, I just had to go out and do my very best!
I wore this necklace which was given to me by my sister for Jonas’ birth. I will wear this necklace at all my future races to remind me of the strength that I discovered within myself that day, and also of the love and support that guides me on my journey from my son and husband.
And just like that, the gun went off, my heart rate climbed to heights not experienced in quite some time, and then it was over. I didn’t set any records, but I did come away with a major success: the desire to stake out some more races and the will to put in the time. The next one will be a little longer, hopefully, hillier, woodsy-er, and challenging! Just how I like it.
Jonas and me before the race. No photos after the race--I knew it wouldn’t be a pretty picture. The hair here is bad enough (remember comment above?), but I included it anyway, because Jonas is so cute.