There was a small layer of wet snow on the ground, as I peered out my window. I hated to drag myself out of bed this morning, especially since it was a Saturday. However, for the last 7-8 years, I have signed up for the training series that leads up to the MINI marathon in May. Today was the first race….the 5k.
To tell you the truth, in the past, I have skipped this race. Its usually WAY too cold at the beginning of February, to talk myself into getting outside for 3 miles. Today though, in comparison to the negative temperatures that have bombarded our state in the recent weeks, there was a heat wave. It had been so long since I had run outside, and something about it was calling my name.
When I got in my car, the temperature gauge said 39 degrees. It seemed surreal. Despite the calling for a wintery mix and rain this morning, there was only a slight drizzle. It was a comfortable run and I was extremely glad to be outside.
I cant remember the last time I have run a 5k by myself. Its not that I think they are too small of a race, or that it isn't worth my time, but these are the races that I reserve to run with my children. Starting at the age of six, my oldest daughter started running 5k's with me. Shortly thereafter, my sons agreed to run in a few. I really enjoy running along side of them. Partly because I like them to see what I love to do, and partly to see their struggling faces at the end, when Im still smiling. I like to believe they think Im tough!!!
While I was running, my thoughts went back to two years ago….the only other time I have talked myself into getting up for this particular race. My dad and Patty were here visiting during that time, and the windchill was 0. My youngest daughter, who was almost 6 at the time, had been pleading with me for some time, to let her run her first 5k, reminding me that her sister got to do it when she was her age. It was so cute at the time, that I agreed. Her Mama Nee bought her a new running outfit for race day, and she couldn't wait until the day came.
I had worked 12 hours the day before the race, and learned that the temperatures would be plummeting. When I got home, she met me at the door in such excitement! I was dreading that race already, but as I tucked her in, I noticed that her new outfit was laid out on the floor, with her socks and tennis shoes all lined up perfectly. I was fairly certain this was happening at this point.
On race day, I got up early to check the weather, and learned of the unbearable temps. Secretly, I decided to forego the race, and try to let her down easy when she awoke. However, as I tiptoed as quietly as I could to my room, I heard her whisper, “Good Morning Mama…Its race day”! Ugh…
For her safety, I should have said no… but, because children have a way of making us feel guilty….and she was so excited…. and I was so weak, we all headed out in this weather, as a big old family.
My oldest daughter decided she wanted to run too, which only made my youngest daughter happier. The only difference between taking the two of them…is EVERYTHING. My oldest daughter is disciplined and quiet. She doesn't like people to talk to her and ask her how old she is. She likes to dart out ahead, and she is very competitive. My youngest daughter is social, giving the runner wave to everyone she passes. She was more worried about looking the part, than running…..OH…and she doesn't care if she QUITS!
As soon as the race started, my oldest daughter took off as usual. We tried to keep up with her for a minute, but my little peanut was loosing strength already….Mostly due to the fact that she couldn't run with her sister. So, 1/4 of a mile in, her legs hurt. I reminded her that we had a ways to go, but all that did was cause her to whine more. Honestly, it was freezing. The wind was ripping through us, and the two pairs of gloves we were wearing were pointless. However, I was determined not to let her quit.
We skipped and sang, then jogged again. She was wiping her nose on my sleeve and crying intermittently. Naturally, people that we were passing were getting irritated that a 5 year old was skipping past them, so we weren't making fast friends, though I promise we were not going ANYWHERE fast. Half way through, she became unbearable with her crying. She had both of her hands in my jacket pocket, causing me to lean sideways, and causing my jacket to rip.
Id finally had it! After all, SHE was the only reason we were here on this miserable morning anyway! I told her to buck up and get moving. I started running ahead of her a little bit, hoping she would get scared, and start moving faster…….Wrong! She started screaming at the top of her lungs “MAMA, I NEVER DID WANT TO DO THIS….I NEVER DID”!!! I just shook my head in embarrassment, as I watched all of these mothers judge me for bringing this poor helpless child to this race against her will. I could see it in their eyes that they were thinking “Oh, shes one of those mothers”!
We finished that race in 45 minutes, which was shorter than it felt like. She has NEVER run with me again, and I am not saddened by it.
Today though, I really enjoyed running this shorter race by myself. The fresh air was well needed, my pace remained under 9 minutes, and I was in 175th place….What more could a girl ask for on the first day of her birthday month…..Nothing! 🙂