Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Do you remember your first?

Yesterday, I read a post on Twitter.  The post brought back such vivid memories for me about all of my "firsts".

I can still remember my first race. It was a 10k. Being as it was 1985, I didn't follow a training plan other than RUN. I had no idea how fast I ran (other than what was on the clock). I didn't know my race number was supposed to be on front....except that....when you think about it....WHY would a number be on the back of your shirt? I had NO idea what those signs with numbers meant (pacing), and really had no idea why there were no women around me (maybe that had something to do with lining up in the 6 min mile crowd).

Then, I started thinking about "other" firsts. My sons were born in 94 and 95, and I was under doctor's instructions to not do any physical activity. I was on the borderline of being put under house arrest (bed rest) if I didn't oblige. Unfortunately, this meant that I gained a ton of weight while pregnant with my first.  Since my youngest was born the following year, I didn't have much time to lose weight before I was pregnant again. AND yet again, no physical activity. I wasn't even able to walk further than front door to couch.

When it was all said and done, I had to lose 60lbs.

After my youngest was born, I was busy with work. I had two babies at home. I started finishing up my bachelor degree 2 months after my youngest was born.

It had been over 2 years since I had run or done any kind of exercise.

I remember the day I caught a reflection of myself in the window. I couldn't figure out what I was looking at. I realized I was looking at a very flabby arm hanging loosely from my shoulder.

I ran upstairs and found an old pair of running shoes and immediately put them on.

I made it to the stop sign.

4 houses away.

You might think I'd be mad or frustrated or disappointed in how out of shape I'd become, but I had 2 healthy babies. I wasn't thinking about any of that.

Instead, I turned around and walked home.

Then next day, I ran to the stop light.

8 houses away (approximately .25 miles). Then, I turned around and walked home.

I did that every day. When I got to being able to run for 30minutes and run/walk home for about the same length of time, I wanted to know how far I was going.

I got in my car, and I drove the neighborhood. I found the 2.5 mile marker, made a right hand turn drove home and discovered that I had a 5 mile loop directly outside my front door.

My goal became to get to the 2.5 mile marker in 30 minutes.

It took me a long time to do it.

Running with an extra 60lbs didn't help either.

But the weight came off.

And one day, it was no longer an out and back. I ran right past the 2.5 mile marker in ever so slightly under 30 minutes, and I kept running.

It was the first time I'd run that far in years.

Soon after, I bought a running stroller and loaded up the boys.

Then, they got bigger, and I couldn't push them anymore.

So, I pulled them on my bike.

Then, they got bigger, and I couldn't pull them anymore.

Then we went to the pool. As Mr. Tea would watch them in the pool, I'd swim laps, badly and very loudly.

Then, I signed up the entire family for the Cherry creek sneak.

It was our first race as a family.

Then, the Turkey Trot.

We'd walk with the boys.

Then, they started running.

It was the first race that they ran on their own....not wanting help from mom or dad.

Then, things got crazy, and Jordan wanted to beat me.

Two years later was the first time he beat me.

Then, he started riding.

Then, he went to college.

And, I ran the Turkey Trot on my own.

It was the first time in three years that I beat his previous fastest time.

And I told him that I beat his previous time.

It was the first time in many years that I did the race by myself.

I started running in 1983. I'd always been a swimmer, and I started riding in the late 80's.

When the boys were born, being active was my only option for dealing with the stress of my life at that time.

And, it was the only way they knew me.

They've grown up knowing that Sunday is long run day. They've known what GU is from the first time I brought it home and let them taste it. They've seen horrible blisters. They've seen me cry over bad races. They've held up signs and cheered me on.

But they've never seen me stop. They've never seen me stop because I'm tired or crying or it's raining or it's hailing or it's freezing or it's snowing.

I didn't start running or swimming or biking to lose weight. I did it because it was my time.

After 20 years of seeing me get up early 6 days a week and going to bed early, and being teased relentlessly for going to bed at 9 and skipping dessert and making sure there was always fresh fruit and veggies around, why was I surprised when I found out that Jordan was doing all of the same stuff while he was at college?

He'd traded in frozen pizzas for healthy vegetarian meals. He'd researched running plans and started running.

He doesn't ever have to race again. My hope is that he uses the time like I did....for himself. I hope he runs and bikes and swims for the sheer enjoyment.

But I have a feeling that he's going to race.

I have a feeling that I have a target on my back.

And this year at the Turkey Trot, I won't be running alone.

It'll be the first time that Jordan and I race together and against each other as two adults on the course for the sheer enjoyment that running brings us.