Sunday, November 25, 2012

Giving Thanks

There is truly much to be thankful for.  Not only did we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this past week, my little family experienced a first....hopefully the first of many more to come.  We ran our first 5K on Thanksgiving morning in Idaho Falls.  My mama heart is full for the accomplishments and direction my family is going....and we are going there together.
I have to thank my running partner, Eric.  He encouraged me to get my miles in when all I wanted to do was sit on the couch at the end of the day.  As the run approached, he offered to push the stroller and stay with Keaton and Belle so that I could get a best time.

Getting Ready

I love these kids!!

Race volunteer passing out candy canes.
Here We Go
When the start bell signaled everyone just started running.  Our bibs had an electronic timer that started as we crossed the start/finish line.  The first thing I learned at this race is that I am a creature of habit.  I am not used to running outside.  I am not used to running without my headphones.  I am not used to not having a walking warm up.  Like everyone else, when the signal started I took off. Bad Bad Bad.  It didn't take long that my calves were killing me.  I didn't like being in a clump of people.  I am far to self-conscious about my running.  I didn't like hearing their conversations.  I worried about holding Taron back but then I wanted him right with me.  I was a mess.  We were not to far into the race when I thought I wasn't even going to be able to finish.  How Silly Is That???  Three miles...I do that almost every day.  And here I was contemplating a quit. 
Then good Tara told bad Tara to quit being a big baby.  Seriously?  It's three miles.  You can do this in your sleep, I told myself.  Then the unexpected happened.
I took out a 4 year old.
Really, he took me out.
I am sure you can imagine the starts of these races.  Everyone is still moving together in a large swarm at the beginning.  There were people all around us.  A mother pushing a stroller was just to my left and a few steps behind me.  Her little boy was running along side.  He was over in the grass and we were on the sidewalk running along the greenbelt. 
I glanced back to see if I could see the kids and Eric behind in the mass.  Then it happened....I have heard runners talk about hitting a wall during their run.  Oh did I feel it.  I never realized they meant it so literal.  Well, it wasn't a wall but what I hit, I hit hard and it took me down.  That little boy that was running along side his mother was apparantly also looking behing and he swerved over in front of me at the very same time I glanced behind. 
And down we went.
Luckily he was totally fine.  I jumped up and kept on going.  However within a few minutes I wasn't feeling so great.  My hands were stinging from bracing my fall.  My left leg was on fire from hitting the ground. Bad Tara was saying just stop, now you have a legit reason.
It wasn't my drive and passion that kept me going.  It was total shame.  I was to afraid to let that grouping of people around us see me hurting or see me quit.  I pushed on.
So here is the deal.  That 5K was hard.  This is what I learned.  I need my headphones.....or initially I do.  By the 1.5 mile mark the groups started to thin out.  Taron and I were basically alone.  My calves finally started to relax after not having a warm up.  By the beginning of mile 2 Taron wanted to run on ahead to take my picture crossing the finish line.  I agreed.  I felt bad he was being held back by my pace.  Once he was gone I was finally able to get in sync with my body.  The rythym I needed from my music was found in the beating of my feat upon the ground, the inhilation and exhalation of my breath and even the internal movement of the blood in my veins.  I was able to clear my thoughts of what other people thought of me running.  The guilt was gone for holding Taron back.  
Finally, I was running. 
Not sure but I think I ran the entire last mile and a half.  The 3.1 mile course was actually 3.74 miles. It was tough.  It felt amazing. I cried some near the end.  I laughed that I had ever thought I should quit back at the beginning.  
Near the end I wanted to walk again.  The many volunteers cheered me on.  They told me I was almost there.  They told me not to give up. And by then, I couldn't hit the final stretch in a walk.  I was going to end the race pushing my body.  Three cheers for the volunteers!!!
And then there it was......rounded a corner and there was the final stretch and the welcome FINISH line.

Crossing the Finish!
MapMyWalk unofficial time
54:59, 3.74 mi, 14:43 min/mi
yes, I walked quite a bit
Yes I ran quite a bit
A Snuggle from the Mascot
The one thing better than crossing that finish line, watching my son come across it.  My beautiful Keaton is slowly coming around to the changes our family is under going.  He still fights me to some degree about exercise.  If given the choice, he would rather stay home from the gym (who wouldn't).  He did walk the entire course.  And you know what, I don't care.  He did it.  He can say he crossed the finish line.  He can say he walked 3.7 miles on Thanksgiving morning.  I saw the joy in his eyes as he did.  He was smiling as his picture shows.  All I can do is build upon one experience after another.  One race and then another.  One success and then another.  I love my boy, as I love all my children.  Running that course was worth it to me to be at the finish line ready to welome my babies as they came across. 

I wasn't able to catch Bella's photo.  She surprised me and the camera wasn't ready.


My Pride at the Finish

Pure JOY

Thank you Eric!!!
Thanks for being my running partner and gym buddy.
You have set an example for me with your running.
Next year I will be at that half marathon competing!!


So what am I thankful for?
I am thankful first for my God.  He forgives me of my faults and is my strength to continue on each day striving to be of service to him and be a better me.
Next, my four beautiful littles. Together we are a pretty great team.  There is nothing I wouldn't do for them. 
And for this post, the last thing I want to mention is that I am grateful, so very grateful, for my body.  It has taken years of abuse and neglect and each day it gives me everything I ask of it.  I am learning so much from the new experiences I am sharing with my body.  Running.  Lifting.  Pushing hard.  Sweating.....who knew sweating could feel so fabulous?
Our Thanksgiving celebrations didn't stop with the run.  Friday night we attended the light parade.  Every minute I get with these kids is spectacular. 

And finally, my weekend ended with a childless tip to the local hot pools.  I love time with my kids but after so much, Mom needs a little time alone.  After a full Saturday with the kids, I dropped them at home and a friend and I escaped to Lava.  IT WAS HEAVEN!!!!

In the end, I am most thankful for the time I had this weekend with my kids, for races, for snuggles and for some me time.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone......not just on the holiday.......everyday!!!

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