Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I'm a Winner!
So, if you run a race and come in first then you win.....right? What if you are the only runner in the race? I say you are still a winner and as such, I am a Winner too! This last Saturday, the last day of April, I completed a goal, I ran a 10k. I had decided to run the "Earth Day 10k" that South Jordan puts on each year on Earth Day, but then I heard about the "Hope For Sarah 5k" and I decided that I would run that race instead. The race was a fundraiser for Sarah O'Gwin, a friend and neighbor. I like the earth and everything, but I like Sarah better, I think she is a good cause. So I asked if I could run the 5k course twice, and when the day and time finally came, I did!
We had lots of friends and neighbors there and I asked one of them, Scarlet, if she could push the boys while she walked. I love my boys but I wasn't sure what the course would be like and I wanted to give myself the best chance possible of finishing the 10k, I didn't want to suddenly find myself staring at a huge hill, running and pushing my 80 pounds of baby-love and stroller in front of me. I think it was a good decision. In the end the boys actually did their own 10k. Scarlet pushed them while she walked the 5k, then I saw some other friends, Susan and Karen, who came late, and I asked if they could watch the boys while I stretched a little. They said they were going to go walk the course and they took the boys with them. Check out these cute little racers, they were great sports! Seriously? How cute are they!?!?
So here is how my race went, what I discovered about myself as well as how my Women's Conference inspiration trickled over into my race.
I got a great gift from my sisters for my Birthday- it is a Garmin Forerunner 205 runners training watch. It tracks 3 very important things for me, my elapsed time, my pace and my distance. I have been happily using it for about 5 weeks now and I don't know what I will do when it dies or if I ever lose it......it is a powerful tool for me. Anyway, I pressed start as the race started and I took off. When you are in a pack of people you just start to run. I overheard someone say "Why is everyone running so fast?" and I looked down at my watch and it told me my pace was 8:30 per mile. Yeah, I average 10:45 per mile, so I dialed it down a notch, I wanted to make sure I could run the whole race. I started to realize that when I got near other runners, either because I was passing them, or they were passing me, my speed increased. I train pretty much alone, so this was kind of surprising to me. I tried hard to keep my pace consistent and I eventually found my rhythm and happily settled in for the race, the 1 mile mark came pretty fast and so did the water stations.
The race was an out and back course and the water was at mile 1 and 2. The water station was manned by a troop of Boy Scouts. (The course was also pretty flat- thank goodness- I was still glad not to have to push the boys and be able to just run.) As I past the water at the Second mile I thought to myself that I would be grateful for the water at mile 5. My plan was simple and it worked quite well. I ran the 5k, and when I got to the finish line I turned around and started the course again. I got to wave at the boys as I ran past them during my Fourth mile, eventually I ran past all the people who had been walking the 5k and I was suddenly alone. I found my self on a slight incline, the only way I knew that it was an incline was because my pace had slowed down and I was having to push myself, it had been this way on my first time through the course and I knew that eventually I would turn around and have the benefit of a gradual decline. As it was I knew that the water station was not far ahead and I decided that instead of running past and grabbing a cup of water I would stop, maybe chat with the Boy Scouts, hydrate and then continue on. When I was about 100 feet from the water station, the Troop drove past me, my plan was foiled, there would be no water and no rest stop. I kept running. It was a perfect blessing, a tender mercy.
As I ran, alone, through the fruit trees of the McMullin Orchards, a thought kept pushing its way to the front of my mind. "Keep Running, Keep Going" I had thought to stop, but there was no reason to stop, there was no water. "Keep Running" I thought about Women's Conference, about the necessity of action. I thought about why I was running. I set the goal to run a 10k because I need to make major changes in my life, I need to be healthier, I need to lose weight, I NEED to do everything I can to get OFF the fast-track to type 2 diabetes. I made the choice, I chose to run, I chose to set goals for myself, a 10k in April and a Half Marathon in September. I put in the time, I trained, I prayed and begged God to protect my knees, to teach me what I needed to do to stay healthy enough to complete my goals. I have felt his guidance as I searched for ways to stretch properly and as I discovered cross training workouts that would strengthen my knees and help me in other important ways (i.e. arm strengthening weight routines that help me easily handle my 24 pound 9 month old). I saw a need, I took action, I told God what I was going to do, I asked him to help me and then I went about to do it. So as I ran, as I heard the "Keep Running, Keep Going" I began to cry, happy little tears. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be, running alone on that country road. God knew exactly where I was and he was cheering me on.
I finished my race, I ran the entire 6.2 miles. I didn't stop. I crossed the finish line at 67 minutes and 25 seconds. Not bad for a first 10k, and pretty much right in line with my training pace.
I sought out my friend Sarah after it was all over. I told her about my experience running the race, how for the first part I was with everyone, but then for the majority of the second half I was alone. I thought about her. Sarah has Cancer. She is also a wife and mother of two young children. Sarah is running a race of her own, and I am pretty sure that she sometimes feels like she is running it alone. Sarah once asked her Doctors how long she should expect to live, and she was told that as far as they knew, she was currently the longest living patient with her type of cancer. She is running her race, and right now, she is winning. I told her about Women's Conference and the idea that we need to act, we need to move forward and trust in the Lord that if we are going the wrong way he will stop us. I told her about my feelings while running alone, about they joy of the thoughts "Keep Running, Keep Going". I told her about how I had planned to stop, but that my plan had been foiled and how I realized it was a wonderful thing. I told her that I believed with all my heart that we have to just keep moving, as long as God lets us live, as long as God allows us to fight for our lives here on the earth, we must put our faith in him and recognize the trust he has placed in us, and keep moving forward, keep running our race. When the time comes that he stops us, when the time comes that he changes our course, when the time comes that we leave this earthly race, we will be prepared, we will Trust HIM.
I am grateful for Sarah, I am grateful for her family and friends who put this race together. I am grateful for my solitary run through the fruit trees. I finished that race, I completed that goal. But I am still running, I am still moving forward, I have more goals to focus on and I hope that every step I take adds a day, full of joy with my family, to my life. If that is not what God intends for me in the grand scheme of things, then so be it, but for now I am right where I need to be. I will keep going.
This is what we looked like after our 10k's. See the mountains? It snowed the night before the race. It was kind of cold. But it was worth it.
P.S. In the 4 months since I set my goal to run this race and started to train for it, I have lost 20 pounds. Exactly what I was hoping would happen. My next goal is a half marathon on the 3rd Saturday in September. My 3rd goal is to reach my goal weight by November. And though I have never put it in writing, I think my next goal will be to maintain (+/- 5 pounds) my goal weight for another 9 months- after which I hope to get pregnant so that would mean my next goal after that would be to have the healthiest pregnancy I possibly can. I like goals.
So there you go, that is how I won a 10k! YEAH! I'm a Winner!