Thursday, June 24, 2010

To Run the Race

Before I met Jeff ... before I was married ... before I had kids, I used to run.
In fact I used to run a lot.
And bike a lot.
And swim a lot.
Okay, I'm gonna spill the beans. I was a sprint distance triathlete! "Uh-uh!" you say. Well, that's because you know me now, or you knew me before then, when I was a gym-class hatin' kinda girl. It's true, it was rather short lived in it's existence and almost like another lifetime ago, but it's true. (Remember the key word here is SPRINT distance (as in short distance=quarter mile to half mile swim, 25k bike, 5-8k run.)

There was one summer when I participated in 6-7 of these races and I remember LOVING it so much! (Laughable to think about now for me.) But there is something to be said about being prepared for a race. For not only running it, but training and being disciplined and knowing that it is not necessarily how you race against everyone else but mostly about you and your own race. I cannot say that I ever won a race (ha, that makes me giggle to consider) and I don't really know how fast I really was. But I do know that I enjoyed training for those quarter-mile swims, 16-25 mile bike rides and 5k to 8k runs all in succession. And I tried. I did it.
Especially even now as I look back, that is priceless to me to know as I take on new challenges and try running different races.

I've started to run again after a L-O-N-G reprieve. I've always returned to it after the birth of every one of our sons, never doing the triathlon thing, but simply running. After Nolan's arrival it has been more of a difficult return. Blame it on having three little boys or the fact that we had a ton of rain and flooding in 2008 or that we have three kids and only a double jogging stroller if you're a kind soul ... but the truth is, it's just plain ol' hard and it was something I was kinda avoiding. (There is also this issue that I'm continuing to have with my post-gigantic pregnancy belly--belly button that makes running less fun. I think it's herniated and I probably need to have it checked out.) Thank goodness for Mr. Lycra and Mrs. Spandex! I would NOT be here without them. If you've EVER wanted to start running/jogging I will totally tell you to check into the lycra and spandex that is super-supportive. It is a God-send!

Anyway, our family all went on a run last night together. Brayden on his bike, Jeff pushing the jogging stroller with N and E in it (E sometimes hopping out to run a bit,) and me trailing behind like a flag in the wind. (can you envision us all strung out like a thread in the wind on this country gravel road? It was just beautiful and kinda funny!)

When we reached the lake a mile and a smidge away, we stopped to toss in some rocks and splash with some sticks (necessary for all boys when around water) and then turned around to go home again. (I would like to add here the detail that this is the lake where I had my VERY FIRST triathlon the summer BEFORE meeting Jeff. Crazy that I now live only a mile and a smidge away from that spot and run to it nearly every time I'm out for a jog!) So when we turned around, in gentleman fashion, Jeff let me get a head start while he buckled the boys into the stroller (remember the post a couple days ago on Easton jumping out of said stroller?) I was actually in the lead, brief as it was. Of course it wasn't long when I heard the zzzz-zzz-zzz whirrling of bike tires and the pounding of feet behind me as the rest of the family caught up and Brayden didn't miss the opportunity to pass me (and let me know it!) It was then that I remembered how during triathlons when someone passes you or you're passing someone else, you yell out something like, "Lookin' good! Way to go! Finish strong!" as an encouragement to them. But it always was an encouragement to yourself as well whether you were the one passing OR the one being passed! Instead of getting that notion in your head that, "shoot someone else is passin' me, I'm falling behind," you heard a voice that said something different and you remembered the goal and believed that you could do this! You would do this! You remembered to press on. You dug deeper and pushed just a little bit harder ... or kept pushing harder even if you had a side ache and thought you were re going to keel over (ha!)

I guess yesterday was the day of giving encouraging words for me, as only a few hours prior to this, Easton was getting dressed for his hockey practice and he was having a hard time finding any motivation. Which has been the case since he started in April. It's been an uphill battle for this little guy. He's 4 and following in the footsteps of his super-aggressive, sports-minded brother. Those are some big shoes to fill and Easton takes it so seriously and so often thinks he should be at the same level as his 7 year old brother! He really wanted his dad there to get him on the ice, to skate with him, to coddle him ... but his dad was at work, he needed to practice with the coaches, he needed to just t-r-y. So I dug deep. I pulled out the tough-love mom card. I got him dressed, I used humor, I ignored the negative comments or him going limp while I tied on his breezers. I let him help out getting the straps tightened and the pads on. But let me tell ya, he is a tough cookie and he was not liking it much at all. So I had to ask nose to nose (through the hockey helmet)--what are you scared of Easton? What's wrong with just trying?
Silence from him along with a big-lip.
"How old are you?" I asked (in a tone like I really didn't know anymore.)
"4," he answered
"Just plain ol' four?" I questioned and kinda taunted?
"No, just plain ol' four and a half," he fired back at me in aggitation.
"Well, Mr. just plain ol' four and a half, what's going to happen to you out there?"
"They're going to ask me to do Really. Hard. Things.," he replied in disgust and annoyance.
And I said, "Okay, it's going to be really hard, what's going happen then?" "Are you gonna try to do them?"
"Yes," he said in that tone all mother's know will someday be followed by a "no duh mom," comment, but thankfully now was just coupled with a little roll of the eyes.
"Well then, what's gonna happen if you don't do it?" "What are they going to do?"
Silence ... and a smile from Easton as he realized something new. They couldn't do anything. It was all up to him if he did or didn't do it.
"Well, Mr. just plain ol'-four and a half," I said, "You go out there and you Try ... and you give it your all and if you don't do what they ask what are they going to do about it? You just go out there and try and give it everything you've got in you and show 'em what 4 and a half is all about and when we're done we'll go have some ice cream. OKAY?! Okay.!"

At this point he's laughing because I am sounding like some kind of a wacky drill coach and not his mom and he has the promise of ice cream in his heart. And you know what? He had the best skate of his life and was SO happy when he was done! He did it. And he did it like no other 4 and a half your old could do. It was so cool. He is so cool. And that ice cream was SOooo good!! (dollar cone at Cold Stone)

And I hope to remember this moment in all the "really hard stuff" that I'm asked to take on or that I take on myself and find myself neck deep in. I'm not just (insert age here), I'm (insert age here) and I'm going to show everyone what (insert age here) is all about. I may not be the best, but I'm gonna go out there and try. And that's where success is. In trying.

In a side note, you may have noticed that the end-date for the fund-raiser on "Blessings a Hundred Fold" has been moved back until around Labor Day. (Please go read the wonderful post by Rita explaining things if you haven't yet!) With summer keeping everyone SO busy and not checking blogs as often, along with the anticipated arrival of The Rippee's Pre-Approval coming at some point very soon after all the delays in paperwork, we decided that we'd like the opportunity to extend the timeline. With Pre-Approval comes the introduction of their daughter with photos, name and information.  And hopefully some added excitement over this family and hopefully excitement over the drawing. PLEASE spread the news of this fundraiser via your FB or blog or email ... I know we can raise more than 126 dollars for this family. (AND THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERYONE WHO HAS ALREADY GIVEN!!! We are SO blessed and thankful!) I know you all can leave an encouraging word for Rita, I know you are all lifting them up in prayer! Please keep doing that! The reward you will feel when you see the joy in this little girls' eyes knowing she has her FOEVER mom and dad is incredibly deep! And we are so close to enjoying that part of the sweet reward. But there is an even sweeter reward ... an eternal prize even beyond any success here on earth. For that I will keep striving and I know you will too.

Go out there and be your best today, Show 'em what (insert age here) is all about!
Run the race as you've never run it before!

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? 
So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. 
They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize
So I run with purpose in every step. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26


Girly Girl Mommy said...

What a pep talk!!

I don't run. Ever. At all. (yuck!) So I never knew that about the encouraging comments. That is so cool. I wish that happened in many circumstances.

I had to be the encourager mom yesterday to get the girlies to go to their first summer karate/self defense class. They wanted no part of it (can't wear a tutu, can you?). You were much more effective than I was. I'll be better prepared next week thanks to this post!

Go Valerie!! (awesome pictures)

I'll 'run' with purpose :)

WilxFamily said...

You are AWESOME!

Oh my word...did you write this for me today?! I so, so, so, SO needed it. You know this "race" I'm running, and wow...with 3, it's already tough. (Personally, I think my #1 kid counts as TWO kids. LOL!)

Wow. Thanks!

The Sanders Family said...

OH Valerie, what a beautiful, heart-warming, motivational post. You were just what Easton ear to listen to him and a voice to bring him the confidence he needed to get things done. It's so hard on them {and us} when they compare themselves to big brother, but oh so rewarding when they try and succeed. Congrats Easton! And way to be an awesome mom Valerie! It's easy to become frustrated or 'short' when our kiddos are putting up a fight, but it sounds like you did just what needed to be done to get Easton to change his perspective in a peaceful, happy way. Well done.

On another note, I know you have told me you used to run, but you never told me to what extend you ran {and biked and swam!} You are so very humble, which I love about you. But just know, you rock girl! Who cares what age you will be this can do anything you put your mind to, and I hope you continue to run and train!

Love ya! And have an awesome upcoming vacation!

Angie :)

Gretchen said...

Glad it is you running and not me...but I power walk, it's better on my bad knee.

Thanks for the post. I feel very encouraged this morning!

The family

The family