Everyone! I am happy to announce a new series that I am [attempting] to bring to DietsAreCrap--Guest Blogger Mondays!
Every few Mondays I'm going to have a guest blogger share a personal weight loss/fitness/athletic story with you all. I hope you enjoy and pass the blog on to your friends.
Shameless plug: I'm trying for 300 followers by the end of the year (you can also feel free to follow me on Twitter, that counts!)
Today's Guest Blogger Monday post comes from my mom, the talented artist behind her blog NiftyArtGirl. May her story inspire you to try something new! Additionally, please contact me if you're interested in sharing your story and being a part of the Guest Blogger Mondays.
September 15th my daughter announces she and her brother are going to run the Seniors First 20th Annual Turkey Trot 5k. Not wanting to miss any time with my children I thought I will do this too. I will walk it and meet them at the end. I go on-line, fill out the form, a very simple one, type in my credit card number and bingo! I am in. Fast forward a month to a conversation with aforementioned brother, my son. He is the 19 year old college student in Colorado. He is a fit, lean, strong rock climber, snowboarder, and can breathe at high altitudes, the altitudes that come with very little oxygen. While visiting him in the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains, he says, ”Mom, you can run a mile.” Something very endearing about your teenager giving you confidence with a pronouncement like that.
I came home, and got on the treadmill. It was nice and cool outside so I had the door open in front of me. I put some music on my ipod, MC Hammer’s greatest hits and got started. I was watching the calories and not the distance so didn’t know I had run 1.22 miles. Was I panting? No. Was I hurting? My hip did a little. Was I tired? No. Hmmm? The air is nice outside, remember? I went out and went another mile. I kept asking myself if I was tired. I wasn’t, I wasn’t bored. I was so happy and it felt so good.
Nobody home to exclaim to. I called my children. They shared the happiness I had, they were preparing for said race too. Now Daughter has run a marathon and can easily sprint 3 miles in the evenings. She is a fit, lean exercising machine. And she is an aerobics instructor who really understands the value of encouragement. She did her job, “That’s great Mom. If people realized it was only 15 minutes to do a mile, they would do it.” I must say the thought that in 45 minutes I would be done was pretty enlightening. Those 45 minutes will come and go whether you run or you sit at home in front of the tv eating bonbons. She continued to encourage me through the next month of self training. I called aforementioned children’s dad and my husband and shared the news. If he was out of town I called him to say the distance, if he was home I would walk down the hall to his office to deliver my new information.
A nagging hip pain had me stretching once in a while when I jogged, but I really didn’t want to stop. I was so afraid of losing momentum that I didn’t want to get off the treadmill for a minute. I know myself, I am easily distracted and can convince myself that there are other more pressing things for me to do…laundry, dishwashing, really? Are those things pressing? At the conclusion of each run I would sit in the pool. The water is cold, it will reduce any swelling or pain. It probably would have if I had stretched at the conclusion of every jog.
I was persistent and made myself jog almost every other day. I had a date and a distance to achieve. I would run at least thirty minutes and about 2.5 miles each meeting with my treadmill. One night I pushed and made 3.5 miles. I called the kids to brag, they were constant ears for me. Daughter said, ”Then you can run the 5k easily. It is only 3.1 miles.” What a sense of relief, for some reason I was going with 3.5 miles in my head. Now I knew I could do it, the nerves settled immensely.
One of biggest boosts in this preparation was my friends disbelief that I could do this. One said, “That is farther than I run.” Another said, ”How do you do that?” Smug is the definition of how I felt.
I continued with my “training”. I experimented with music. I sang with Joni Mitchell, was serenaded by John Mayer, and was pumped with MC Hammer. He would accompany me on my 5k.
Two days before the race I took a little jog with Daughter. I found immediately that I have to go it alone. I was trying to pace myself and wanted to run with her at the same time and I couldn’t. While on the treadmill at home I would try to watch my shadow. I learned the rhythm and my own pace that way. I am very visual so could call that up to determine how fast I should go. Daughter sprinted ahead and ran back to meet me. I was able to restart and focus on the memory of my shadow.
The morning of the race we got up early. I had a bowl of protein packed cold cereal and a little to drink. Fearing a lack of bathrooms I stopped with that. We drove to Lake Eola and easily found parking having chosen to arrive early. We locked our wallets away and the car key was hidden in an ipod armband. We walked with other sporty folks, track teams from high schools, and people who obviously had done this before. The crowd was growing trying to sort itself out. There were a few runners with turkey headgear, it was after all Thanksgiving morning. We had a lot to be thankful for. We were healthy and capable of being a part of this.
We girls had on spiffy running gear. Black running capris and hot pink long sleeved tops. Brother was in cool blue shorts and a sushi restaurant t-shirt. We were hot! Well, now we were a little cold. The air was chilly and the skinny runners were there with teeth chattering. One more bathroom stop at the line of port-a potties. We walked a little distance in the park and stretched, my kids were doing real stretching, I had no idea what to do so followed their lead, hoping nobody would get a back view of me in my stretchy capris. We were pretty quiet. Other people in the crowd were chatting and enjoying the camaraderie. The kids went to the front of the group at the starting line. They were racing, themselves and each other. I wanted to be near the slower folks, but not with the walkers.
They were off, the crowd slowly moved forward to the starting line as the first runners could be seen way ahead going up the first little hill. We eased up a step at a time. I started jogging as the group beside me did likewise. Under the clock and gone. I was about 5 minutes after my children had set off on their race. I did not take note of the exact time on the clock as I went under it. I should have because that would have determined my precise finishing time. I felt as if I had a mission. I was not jubilant, I was serious and focused. Clearly I wouldn’t be fun to run with. It takes a lot of my concentration to breathe, I cannot do the in through the nose out with the mouth thing. I am in and out of the mouth. My mouth gets dry I freak, will I choke. I forgot the mouth moistening spray.
I see early that you must navigate around other runners, walkers, strollers (really a bad idea), parked cars, uneven pavement, and bricks. There was a never a time that I was in a group of runners going the same speed as I. Once in a while one would wander up and honestly it was irritating. It was similar to driving 65 on the interstate and realizing you can’t go around or stay behind the person in front of you. The only way to get away is to rev up and floor it and go around. That is what I did. There were a few places where the crowd was thick, people going along together talking. Squeezing between them and other talkers took some maneuvering and passing sideways, “Scuse me, scuse me.”
Ahead I could see tables lined with paper cups manned by kind volunteers. That was a great treat. Slowing to a walk I grabbed a cup, I did drink it, not just swish. Then as the pros on the televised runs I tossed my cup to the street. I had more important things to do then worry about littering.
At one point a man’s voice came out of the blue. I could discern words not just a blur of crowd sounds. The things he said became repetitive, he was right beside me, who is he? Was he some endorphin flooded runner coming to encourage me. No, it was my loving husband. He jogged up beside me and chatted a second, encouraged me to keep going, gave me a kiss, and waved good-bye. I figured he was on his way home to continue the roasting of the turkey.
I could use a little walk. I slowed down for about 10 feet of walking. That really felt good and even that small amount helped me to regroup. It is only 3.1 miles. I missed the mile markers so had no idea if I had gone one mile or two or three. I saw a few people who had completed the race walking down the sidewalk coming from the opposite direction. The end must be near or they were extremely fast. I started looking for my children thinking they might come back and jog with me. We went around a turn and I could see a crowd. It was the finish line, the same place we had started from. When I saw it I knew this was a done deal. I was not going to fall like some of the people I had seen earlier. This was the best part of the race. As we got closer there were people standing on the sidelines cheering us on. The most beautiful sight at that point was my two children. They were leaning from the right side and looking around the crowd watching for me. They came running out to go across the finish line with me. Daughter said, ”Smile, they are taking pictures.” I think I did. One of Brother’s friends called out to him. We crossed together. They ate bananas, I wanted coffee. We meandered through the glowing, sweating, happy people.
We walked to the car, settled in, and started driving home. Luckily Brother was watching the scenery go by and saw his car parked on the street. Needless to say when a 19 year old male sees his car miles from home and he isn’t driving it an alarm goes off. We turned around, parked, and began a search for Dad, the driver of said brother’s said car. We found him. He had been waiting to see us cross the finish line. Somehow without cell phones or earlier made plans we did find each other. We were victorious and could share it with one more person we loved. I called my mother to share the news. We had been up for hours and it was only 9:00.
My children and me. What a shining moment in my life. We shared an accomplishment. Daughter had her personal best time (24:28), Brother beat his sister in his first race ever (23:28), and I my first 5k at the age of 50 (39:45). When my father was alive I had told him I wanted to run a 5k. I had always said, “I wish I could run.” He said, “Then do it.” “Daddy, you aren’t here, but I think you know I did it.”