The weekend was beautiful. There were times I got that little nervous feeling down in my core, but nothing like stepping on the starting line of a major race back in the day. It surprised me, really. How calm my nerves were about the whole thing. The night before I was shoveling river rock for my parent's landscaping and eating pizza. I was sure I wouldn't be able to move my arms in the morning.
I got up. Threw on my little black spandex shorts, sports bra, and tank top. It was time to go. I was surprisingly limber and not an ounce sore from the previous day's activities.
I got a nice little surprise that my support group just grew a little bigger. Snacks packed for the rug rats and water packed for me.
This is where the funny comes in. We (my little Sharp family) don't do anything without an ounce of funny even if we don't realize it is funny at the time.
Dale and I don't do so well with riding together when we kind of know where we are going. It usually turns out that we don't actually know where we are going. Long story short we got there later than I had planned. On the way I was thinking what I would do for a warm up.
Did I mention I wasn't officially registered yet? We were warned that parking would be limited. So, we parked about a mile away. My warm up? A 35 pound shuffle footed toddler on my back as I walked as fast as I could through the rolling hills to the pavilion to register. I was sweating and warmed up well.
Did I mention I forgot to tell Dale where to meet me when I raced through those hills while he was left behind strolling the destroyer (our baby) and our almost 6 year old? No? Well, yeah.
I registered. Got little Nayners a balloon and searched like crazy to find that dark headed guy with a stroller and a 6 year old.
"5kers you need to get to the starting line."
"Where the hell is Dale?"
"Where the hell is the starting line?"
"Come on, Nayners. Sorry I have to drag you around like this."
"Am I seriously going to have to run this race with a 3 year old on my back?"
There he is.
"Where were you?"
"At the starting line. I figured you would be down there."
"Where's the starting line?"
"Over there everyone has started. They are running up the hill now."
As I ran down the hill I was pinning my tag on my shirt. Saying a few choice words and about to throw in the towel. I think tears might have welled up in my eyes. I'm pretty sure that I was the last person to start the race.
But, I was here to do something I haven't done in a long time and I was determined to get it done. About 400 meters up the hill I heard, "Whew! You go girl!" from a lifetime familiar voice. I looked up, the scowl still on my face to see my parents there on the corner cheering me on. That's all I needed.
My mind shifted to what I was doing and why I was doing it. I've got this. I left the pissed behind and started weaving in and out. Some walkers, some joggers. Some sharing conversation, cheering each other on. Some pushing their kids in strollers, some running with their kids. I was inspired. Keep pushing. Keep going. I found a couple weaving in and out as they were pushing their son. The mom, the nicest runner I've ever met. Encouraging everyone they passed and thanking every officer blocking the neighborhood streets. I paced with them. At the 2 mile mark my stomach was cramping a bit and I asked what time the nice mom had. 9 something. Huh? What does that tell me. When did I start? She means 9:00, right? I was hoping for some kind of split, but it wouldn't have mattered. I started after her anyway. I was running blind.
"I hope you don't mind my annoying breathing following you. I haven't ran one of these in a long time." As our feet pounded down the tree lined streets.
We pounded on.
"800 meters left. 800 left" a woman on the side was shouting. Encouraging us that we were almost there and to keep going.
800 I've got a little over 2 minutes of running left. My mind still thinks I'm competitively running.
Still weaving in and out of people. Some old, some young. Some really young ones passing me from time to time. A girl and her dad stick out in my mind. He was encouraging her. "We're right where we need to be. We're almost done. Hang in there."
As I passed her our eyes met. She was probably 10 and looked like she was ready to walk. "You're almost there. You're doing a great job." I couldn't help but join in on the encouragement and she was polite enough to thank me.
Down the hill and around the corner. The finish line just up the hill and around another corner. There was a family I was coming up on. They were pushing what seemed to be their son in a wheelchair who was wearing a helmet. I was inspired right when I needed to be. But I couldn't muster up anything to open my mouth and encourage them on. Sometimes that's what gets me the most. That I can't open my mouth and encourage someone or tell them what they mean to me when they touch me the most. I'm still working on it.
This is why I'm doing this and he's out here. He's out here doing it too.
As I rounded the corner the crowd getting thicker and thicker cheering and screaming.
"Great job. You did it. You're almost there."
It still gets me a little emotional.
My mind flashed back to all the years I was fortunate enough to run the anchor leg in many a relay race.
Up the hill and to the finish line. My eyes glanced up to that time on the finish line and my ears heard another familiar voice.
To be continued...