Visions of Third Grade All Over Again
My First Race
Yesterday I ran my first race. Our area has a mile long race benefit downtown. K told me that it would be good training so I did a late sign up the day before the race.
Walking into the running store was intimidating. It was full of those skinny running types waiting to pick up their race packets. I sucked in my stomach and tried to fit in. The kids did a better job fitting in - by running around. I was exasperated when The Love Magnet ran into the back stock room while being chased by Thirdborn with one of the store staff right behind them. I apologized profusely. The advantage of wild children?...they hurried my applications and got us out of their store rather quickly after that.
The next day I was a nervous chick. I called Mr. Wonderful at lunchtime and bawled on the phone. He kept assuring me that I would be fine. (Yes, I felt stupid. The only way I could explain these emotions is that they were the exact same emotions I had before every race in elementary school where I would place dead last. I guess I reverted back to being 10 years old.)
Mr. Wonderful got home early. We drove downtown with all the kids except Firstborn who had to work. I found K (who it turned out was not running the race). She told me she would be cheering. The first race was the kids race. The course was 1/2 a mile and they would be chasing an ice cream truck. When they finished the race, the ice cream truck would hand out ice cream bars. Thirdborn and The Love Magnet were signed up for the race with Mr. Wonderful following with a jogging stroller in case The Love Magnet wore out. The kids got in line and started off at the sound of the gun. The Love Magnet ran the back half and then asked Mr. Wonderful to carry her. He gave the stroller to Thirdborn and bent down to pick up our daughter. When he looked back up, Thirdborn was gone. Mr. Wonderful started running with The Love Magnet on his shoulders, trying to spot Thirdborn in the crowd of hundreds of children and adults.
I found Thirdborn nearing the finish line, running with the empty stroller. He was so thrilled to receive his blue ribbon and ice cream. Along came Mr. Wonderful with The Love Magnet bouncing on his shoulders. She asked to get down and immediately tried to run the course again. We stopped her long enough to show her the ice cream, which she took and sat in the stroller to eat. Who wants to run when there is chocolate ice cream available?
The next race was the untimed mile (twice around the course). Secondborn agreed to run this one with me (only because we found out he was too old to run the 1/2 mile ). I warned him in advance that I could not run the entire course. We started as soon as the crowd started moving and ended up passing quite a few stragglers. Secondborn matched his pace to mine. When my lungs were burning we dropped to a walk. Not for long. Secondborn pointed ahead and said "Mom, do you see the traffic light? Let start running when we get there." This happened again and again as we looped the course twice. When we passed the crowd the first time we made sure we ran the entire length (1/4 mile). I was embarrassed to have all those eyes on me even though I knew they weren't really looking at me. The cheers of "Go Mom!" and "Go Carrie!" really boosted me. On the last backside of the course we walked for a bit as we looped around again. Secondborn made sure that I didn't walk for long (he's such a great running partner!)
When we got to the final stretch and started running, Secondborn wanted to finish really strong and sprint. He kept trying to get me to sprint. I was just concentrating on keeping my own Eeyore-ish pace.
From the side I heard "Go Mom!" and I was joined by Thirdborn and The Love Magnet who held my hand as we finished the race. We finished the mile in 13 minutes, a time better than I had been doing in training. K was thrilled for me. I was surprised at where my placement was in the group. I wasn't last. I was about in the middle.
There were other timed races but we didn't stay. The kids were hungry so we went home for dinner. Mr. Wonderful held my hand as we drove home and told me he was proud of me. I thanked Secondborn multiple times for running the race for me. It meant so much that he would do it with me so I wouldn't have to be alone.
Secondborn was thrilled to see us on the TV news that night. There was a 10 second shot focused on him in clear view and me half behind another runner. I didn't mind being hidden.
I have to admit that I am proud of me, too. My first race. My race number will be save for scrapbooking. I plan to run the Mile race next year. Hopefully my time will be faster.