Saturday, March 31, 2012

It was not the race I had been training for all this time. Or was it?

Soon after moving to Austin last summer I started looking for a good race in the area to give me something to train for and get me motivated.  The Zooma racing series seemed like the perfect thing: a half marathon in the Spring.  Today, in fact.  I started training and recruited some acquaintances to do it with me.  I even applied to be a "Zooma Ambassador" to lead some training runs for ladies interested in getting together for long runs who would also be running Zooma.  I was thrilled to be chosen!  I got lots of free stuff from the race's sponsors, led some runs, got to know some people, and volunteered at things like race packet pickup.  It made me feel kind of special.  I was looking forward to race day where all of the "ambassadors" would be wearing  the same official racing gear. It was sure to be a party.

I arranged to stay the night last night with 4 other ladies at the nice resort/hotel where the race was being held.  It was over an hour's drive away, so I thought it would be a fun over-nighter if I just made a good 24 hour vacation out of it.  Taylor threw me a curve ball when he scheduled the same weekend to go to Utah to do some genealogy work with his dad and attend LDS General Conference.  He made the plans quickly, forgetting it was the same weekend as the race.  I arranged to have a nice 16-year-old from our ward come stay the night with our kids.  Oscar's Tang Soo Do instructor also scheduled his belt advancement test for this morning, so I had it all arranged for the babysitter to take him there and to take lots of pictures for me. I was, of course, really disappointed to not be there.  But there was nothing I could do. I was committed to this race.

Well, the babysitter came over after school. I had taken great pains to straighten the house, do laundry, and make it as easy as possible for everyone while I was away.  There was a lot of arranging and planning that went into making the whole 24 hour get-away possible.  And I finally got away!  Yay! I drove down and got there just in time to meet the other ladies for an awesome buffet dinner at the resort.  I have had myself on a very strict diet for the last 3 weeks.  I have limited my calorie intake severely and not had any "junk" or sugar or my beloved Diet Dr. P.  I have lost a few pounds, but better than that, I have proved to myself that I CAN control what I eat. That has been pretty huge for me. I've been really proud of myself.  But I made a deal with myself that I could eat whatever I wanted the night before the half marathon.  And so I did. And it was delicious.  I pretty much quadrupled the amount of calories I have been eating in a day. Amazing how easy it is to do that. And how fun.

After dinner we went back to the room.  It was nice, but I was sharing a pull out bed.  I decided to take a nice, quiet, luxurious bath in the fancy bathroom before going to sleep.  It was divine.  ... And it turns out that is where my vacation ended.  About 45 minutes after getting into bed, my phone rang.  It was the babysitter.  Joe had thrown up. Twice.  I called the babysitter's mom (who is a friend) and asked her to go to my house to check on the situation.  Things didn't look so good.  Joe was running a fever, and he just couldn't stop vomiting.  She had her husband and a friend come over and give Joe a priesthood blessing.  It was then that I knew I couldn't stay and run the race.  I needed to be home with my boy.  I knew he would be alright, but I also knew I wouldn't. I wouldn't be able to sleep. I would feel awful just not knowing exactly how sick he was. I felt it was just wrong to let a teen and her mom take care of a vomiting child all night.  That wasn't part of the bargain.  So I got out of bed, packed up my race outfit that was all laid out and ready to go, and I went home.

When I got  home, my poor friend was caring for Joe. Her daughter, the babysitter was asleep on the couch. Joe had just fallen asleep on the hard floor. Poor kid!  They left, and Joe woke up and threw up a few more times during the night. There were a few moments during the night that I felt it was a pure joy and blessing to be his mom and be able to take care of him in a time where he could not help himself.  I love Joe so much. He is a sweet and happy boy. He loves to be cuddled and he loves for me to stroke the hair on top of his head when he is sleepy.  I am so grateful that I didn't have any feelings of resentment.  It was an honor. Please understand, this is not normal for me!  It was a gift.  But, it  wasn't until 4:30 or 5:00 that Joe and I actually slept.

At 9 AM Oscar was up and ready for his belt test.  Joe was running a fever, but no longer puking. So I left him with Waverly.  And so there was a silver lining to this cloud: I got to be there for Oscar's test.  It is one of my favorite things to see him do martial arts.  He is good! And he is able to use all of his natural intensity and focus on something totally constructive and worthwhile!  I love it!  I was so proud of him.  Being there with him was a joy, and it didn't feel like a big sacrifice to be missing the race. It was another gift.

Board break with a back kick. He is so awesome. I'm sure I could not do that!
After the belt test I took Oscar and Alice to IHOP for brunch.  Now, those two are usually sworn enemies. But I was given a another gift this morning: a miracle!  They were totally and completely kind, courteous and even friendly with each other the entire time!! At one point Alice even said, "Oscar, in the restaurant can I sit next to you?"  My jaw nearly hit the ground.  It was a miracle, and not even a small one. It was a total JOY for me to be spending that time with them.  Another silver lining. If I had been at the race, none of this would have happened.

When we came home, I decided to try and put together the trampoline I bought yesterday.  The instructions say clearly that it requires at least two adults for assembly.  Well, apparently one adult and two young siblings who are having a rare bonding moment can do it just fine!  ... and it about an hour's time.  This is clearly one of those jobs that I would make Taylor do if he were home, so I am pretty proud of myself for figuring it out.

Assembling the safety enclosure will be Monday's project...
And then.  THEN I decided that there was no reason why I couldn't run a half marathon today.  Sure, it wasn't on the race course with a few thousand other women, there wouldn't be a party-like atmosphere at the finish line, and no one would know that I was a very special "ambassador". ;)  So once Joe was down for a much-needed nap, I put on my race outfit, bib number and all, and I walked out the door.

It was warm out, but I did not realize that it was 90 degrees! It's a good thing, or I probably wouldn't have done it!  I felt pretty good for three miles.  I listened to the live stream of General Conference on my phone.  But not being able to just stream the audio for some reason, I was streaming video and my battery died at mile 3... just as it suddenly began to feel really hot.

There isn't a lot I need or want to say about the next 10 miles. It was hot, and my two little water bottles on my belt were not enough. I was parched and fading fast.  The sun zapped every bit of my energy and I walked a lot. I hate doing that. I would never do that in a race.  The whole thing was more than a little bit miserable.  With about 5 miles to go, I stopped at a fellow church member's house and guzzled about 30 ounces of water and refilled my bottles.  It helped a lot, but those last few miles were still not pleasant.  It was probably one of my least favorite runs ever.  But I knew I would be glad I did it.  And I was.  I felt proud of myself. AND this is what I came home to:  My sweet, creative, thoughtful Waverly made me my very own half marathon finish line!

It says "finish", NOT "fwish".   :)

Bows and duct tape. The cutest finish line I've ever crossed.  
You can compare this post-race self portrait with the one I took two weeks ago after the DC Rock n Roll half.  Physically, I was feeling a whole lot better two weeks ago, and it shows.

I don't remember the last time I ran in this kind of heat. I hate it. I really do. I've never sweat so much in my life.

Isn't she sweet and just awesome? Yes, yes she is.

Proof! 13.1, baby!
So, today I did not run the race I had been training for.  But in so many ways, I feel like I ran the ultimate race. I think I "chose the better part" and I was hugely blessed for it.   Feeling like a good mom, a grateful mom, a mentally tough mom? That is priceless! It was not the celebration of womanhood kind of race day I had been anticipating, but when all is said and done... it was, and I could not be more proud of myself. I feel like I've won.


Allie said...

Congratulations! This is such a great post ..., and a day you will never forget!

cherl said...

Beautiful post!

Latter-day Runner said...

Congratulations on getting the distance in even if it wasn't on your planned route or under favorable circumstances (frequent water stations, for example). Your finish line really is the cutest ever -- and probably the only one that leads directly to your own shower stall. When I finish a long race, I just want to get home as soon as possible and into an ice bath and then shower. It would be wonderful if all races ended at our own front door.

Amateur Steph said...

way to go! I loved reading about how you turned your experience into something so positive!

Stephanie@Soggy Runner Girl said...

I loved this post! Thank you reminding me what my #1 priority is. Thank you for setting such a great example:)

Stephanie@Soggy Runner Girl said...

I loved this post! Thank you reminding me what my #1 priority is. Thank you for setting such a great example:)

Kelly(M&M) said...

I cried when I read this. I am so, so proud of you. What a tough decision to make, and look at the moments you were able to witness. I know the miracle that it was to see Alice and Oscar so tight knit. How wonderful. The duct tape finish line is the perfect end to your race and your decision. May we all have finish lines made by our kids. :-) You are one amazing woman and I just love you! (and miss you more than you know!)