Last Saturday David and I bundled up and laced up our running shoes (respectively) and headed to the Jingle Bell 5k.
The race was at 8am, which meant I had to set an alarm just in case David didn’t wake me up early enough. My new mom heart broke as I set the alarm, and typed that sentence. Only a lunatic would give up perfectly good sleep to go run a 5k. A lunatic.
David woke up super-early for our last 5k, but we weren’t so lucky this go-round. I woke up, got ready, then woke the little guy. Have you ever woken a sleeping baby. I’ll be honest, I expected to feel a little retribution, “See baby, it’s no fun waking up early, is it?”
But he was just so sleepy. I felt like a terrible mom disrupting his sleep, even though he’s done the same to me every single day of his entire life.
Our racing partners for the day included coaches and runners from WEPC’s Track Club. After a summer of running at the track, a few of the most enthusiastic runners have been training to run a race.
Front: Emanuela, Metaya, Misler, Seidy, Sophia; Back: Adwon, Shangwok, John
And I can’t forget David there making up the stroller row, admiring Seidy’s smile.
As I walked up the girls ran up to me and announced they were drinking coffee and eating cookies. If that’s not a festive pre-race breakfast, I don’t know what is.
Moments later, Cupid Shuffle started playing over the loud speakers.
Parking lot dance party? Ok – GO!
Now kick! Now kick! Now kick! Now kick!
Just before race time we gathered ‘round and said a prayer.
John is an amazing motivator, he introduced me to the line, “YOU CAN WALK WHEN YOU GET HOME!” It’s his battle cry for stuff like racing and doing push-ups.
His real battle cry is something more like, “Lean on the Rock and rock on!”…a reminder to trust and acknowledge God as our rock.
What more could you want in a coach? Nothing.
The race plan was this: two of the girls would run the 5k, the rest were running the 1-mile. John, Shangwok and I would run with and encourage the girls along the way.
As soon as the race started the kids were GONE. They knew what they were doing, so they didn’t sprint out the start, they were just GONE from me. This was my first time running with a stroller, I had no idea how hard it is to navigate the crowd.
(I even ran into a runner. I felt so bad, but everyone was incredibly nice. Whew. I even got a few, “Go mama!” cheers.)
The crowd cleared soon enough, but I was playing catch up from the get-go. Realizing this wasn’t panning out to be the leisurely 5k I had planned on, I immediately regretted my Raisin Bran breakfast.
Somewhere around mile 1, I found John, Adwon and Milser. John and Adwon took off, and Milser and I ran together. I love running with Milser because she reminds me of myself as a runner. She runs the 800m in track, just like me in high school, and she’s a work horse. Milser doesn’t skip practice, and when the goin’ gets tough she puts her head down and grinds out the distance.
At some point, we came across Metaya and Seidy. I can’t really remember if they caught up to us, or we caught up to them, it’s all sort of a blur.
Seidy and Metaya were supposed to run the 1-mile. However, they didn’t see the 1-mile finish line, so they just kept going. They were SO excited to be running the whole race. What were we thinking limiting these girls to one measly mile?
I walked a 5k when I was about Metaya’s age. I was miserable. I did it with my best friend and her mom and we complained the.entire.time.
A 5k is a long race, especially when you’re 9 years old. But these girls? They smiled all 3.1 miles and talked about how excited they were to tell their parents they had run the whole race.
We took a few walk breaks, and I’m not too proud to admit that I sprawled my body across the stroller to get myself up one of the hills, but it was a great race.
Right before we turned the corner to finish I asked Seidy, “How do you feel?” And she responded, “I feel…I feel…perfect!”
I’m not sure what our time was. We were too busy celebrating across the finish line to check the clock.
Post-race, we headed to Martin’s for some breakfast pizza.
Check out David’s fan club.
Metaya prefers to eat her pizza crust first.
This was a great race for us, and a great race for the kids. Festive, fun, well-organized and with jingle bells on everyone’s shoes we really did jingle all the way.
I love these girls. I love seeing them run, have fun, and I LOVE the look of accomplishment on their faces. John, Shangwok and I love them enough to (begrudgingly) get out of bed at 6am to run a race with them. God loved them enough to send his Son to die for them. That’s why we run with them. Because we pray that they will know that God loves them, and maybe by sharing running, somewhere through the miles they’ll get a sense of God’s goodness and love for them.