Posted by: Bonmama
Saturday was my first ever race, The Nutcracker 5k; and I do feel comfortable calling it a race post-event, because I gave it everything that I had. I was FASTER than I thought.
I have been working up to this race for about three and a half weeks now, and for those clear and sunny weeks, I just knew that come race-day… the weather would turn nasty and snow would dump. I was not disappointed. What I had not been counting on was (sorry Paul and any other male readers) my monthly starting that morning. Thanks body, thanks a whole bunch. So it may be that what went down yesterday, is splashed in colors more vivid and hormonal that usual. Or maybe not. Maybe, like most women carrying around extra fluff, I have some heavy emotions tied up in my body, it’s shape, and the ways that we have been betraying each other through the years. Add on top of that some first-time jitters, the simple fact that I had no idea what to expect and then, to top it all off, I was doing it alone. I didn’t know I was doing it alone, two buddies calling to cancel that morning, and then I learned my one last friend couldn’t come just minutes before the race. The lone fat woman in the pack of lean looking racers and runners. Looking around, I realized that the snow had kept us rank amateurs away. Well, that’s what I told myself. The fact is, I am probably just a crazy old lady, trying to do this kind of stuff in this kind of body.
Or maybe I am a racer and a runner in a body that has not yet caught up to my spirit.
I was touchy and cross all morning, racing to get myself and three little girls fed and ready to go by 7:30 AM. My mood was not helped by the crappy sleep I had gotten the past couple of nights, plus Birdie waking up at 4:30 that morning. The kids race started at 8:30, and it’s about a 20 minute drive to the venue on a good day… but in the snow? Dadguy finally got up and we were on our way. We arrived in good time, and got to meet the girl who was dancing Clara’s part in the Nutcracker. The Chaos Girls ran in circles, and up and down the large hall way where the kids race would be. And I will never forget the squeals of laughter and the looks on their faces when they saw that “everyone must wear a tutu” meant that men and boys would be wearing them too.
Birdie and I had talked about the race, about winning, and running, and doing her best. Like most five year olds, she is learning how to be a good sport. Keyword: learning. I made it clear to her that what was important is finishing the race. She wanted to know, what did it mean “finishing?” I explained that there would be bigger kids and faster kids, and kids that would finish the race ahead of her; what I wanted from her was her best running and best effort from the time that they said “GO!” till she crossed the line and she was done.
Even now I have “happy tears” in my eyes, remembering how she ran. I am so proud of my little Birdie. So thrilled with her running, and her heart, and her inherent greatness. After she was done she asked if she had won. I told her that she absolutely HAD WON! She had run her best and she had finished, and that made her a winner. She had most certainly won my heart. And it was so fun, the charge of excitement, the cheering of the parents and other adult runners waiting to run their race. LaLa wants to run it next year, and next year she will.
It was time for my race, and then I learned I was going alone. I went to the bathroom one last time to cry a little and to pray; quitting was just not an option. My little girls were there, watching their Mama. Quitting does not fit with my idea of myself as a woman or as a mother, so I walked outside in the snow and the slush and the ice to the start line. Inside my head ran a litany of the mighty and brave things I have done in my life, and by the time the horn blasted the start of the race I was ready.
Early on in the course I realized several things. Thing one: visibility would be an issue, my glasses were fogging up relentlessly, add in the steadily falling snow? Oh brother. thing two: I needed to invest in some racing tights. The yoga pants I was wearing quickly gained a few pounds of ice and water at the bottom, and the flapping, wet fabric really sucked. Thing three: I had great shoes and socks for the run. Thing four: I was going to be dead last.
I got seriously splashed by cars twice, and even without the double dousing, I was soaked up to the knees within the first mile. All told, I ran at about two of the five K, and walked the rest. I want you to know that what I told Birdie? I absolutely believe it. I pulled in 47 minutes and was pretty much last (a very nice lady let me put on a last kick of speed in the last 100 yards and pass her), and I AM A WINNER! I am on my way to more greatness, and I am a little bit addicted to the feeling I feel today. I feel strong and satisfied, I feel like a good mom. I am a leaf on the wind… watch how I SOAR.