Race day has come and gone. This past Saturday four of the six of us suited up for the Monster Dash. One, running the 5K, the other three a half marathon. There were no costumes, only cold weather running gear and a heap of emotions. I had been a bit under the weather, well let's call it as it was, I'd been suffering an upper respiratory/sinus funk for days leading up to the race. Husband Jared was not feeling 100%, but those girl Things, 1 and 2, they were ready to run. And that my friends was enough to roll me out of bed and lace up my trainers for the last race of the season.
I had originally planned on achieving a PR with this race. The course is mostly, emphasis on the mostly, downhill and quite beautiful. Lined with old, historic homes, views of the mighty Mississippi and hysterically creative costumed runners and supporters. Although when the morning came, too early as it often does, my mindset was recalibrated and just finishing the race seemed like a lofty enough goal.
We had Thing 1's best friend with us for the run, and as we drove to the starting line we sang, acted silly, missed stop signs, don't tell, and even took the wrong exit. Oops. I think Husband Jared might have been distracted by the three teenage girls in the vehicle with us. That is not our typical pre-race procedure. Regardless, we wound our way up the parking structure, zipped up our jackets, pinned our race numbers and walked enthusiastically to the starting line. The 5K runners departed and went their own way and with kisses and good lucks we told them we'd meet them at the finish line. Us half marathoners found the good ol' porta potty. Oh who am I kidding? They are rank, but they are the only option, so when in Rome. I was feeling the butterflies for Thing 2, this being her first race and all and she was the coolest bean in the corral. All business. Head phones on, hand warmers in the gloves and ready to go. Her goal, finish. We knew none of us would be running the same pace so she had her phone in case of emergency and that gave this Mama some comfort. Then the National Anthem and the start gun, two minutes later we were off. Husband Jared hung with us for about a minute and then he waved goodbye and darted off. Yep, he's faster!
Waiting to start
I was off to a great pace, better than expected, until mile 3. The mental games kicked in, there were no toilets to be found and then at the water station I almost ran into someone. He ran across the street and right in front of me, coming to a full stop and causing me to dart around him, close enough to hold hands with the running pair next to me and have to apologize as I ran past. Maybe he was a newbie, I don't know, but that can certainly mess with you. Moving on and running on. No need to dwell on it. I kept going, one foot in front of the other. My breathing labored and light headed I willed myself to continue. I had never before experienced this. It took every ounce of energy to go forward. I had music, I was anxious to see Thing 2 cross the finish line and I had Husband Jared to try and catch. What great motivation!
And it was, until mile 6.5 or so. I was running close to the curb in the event I had to spit or blow snot out of my nose, pardon the graphics, and I came up on another runner who I needed to get around. I ran up on the curb, passed and as I was coming down something did not go the way it should have. Not sure of what was happening, I kept running. Until I couldn't. Then I knew. I knew what I didn't want to know and I stopped. Walked up to a tree, caught my breath and stretched. Tried to run again. No. My knee was screaming and all the muscles in that leg were angry. I limped along the side. Tears streaming down my salty cheeks. Unsure of what I should do next. I had no phone on me and there was no first aid tent in sight so I kept walking. Struggling. Wanting so badly just to start running again but my body told me otherwise. Thing 2 eventually passed me. She had a great pace and was on her way. That helped seeing her, spurred me on a bit. I made it to mile 10, where the first aid station was and I collapsed into a chair. The emotions had taken over and I couldn't even get the words out. Ice, was all I could say. Then shuttle? How was I supposed to get to the finish line where my family was? The kind volunteers wrapped my knee up and helped me to the bus that would cart me and all the other 10 mile finishers to the half finishing line and the after party. It was there that I borrowed a random stranger's phone to inform Husband Jared of the mishap. Once I heard his voice I lost it, he was so worried and I could tell he had been on the lookout for me. Within minutes I fell into his arms, all the disappointment flowing out of me.
On the bright side, my girls finished and ran well. They were all waiting for me with hugs and condolences and their medals, which were hanging proudly around their necks. What a sight they were!
Husband Jared and Thing 2, sporting their medals!
Thing 1 and Madi, her BFF at the finish line
And then there was me, sad face and all. Allowing Husband Jared to carry me to the car.
Me, I'm not such a great patient. It is not a space I like to play in. Husband Jared knew it was serious when I allowed him to carry me to the car, Thing 1 took a turn too, I even rode on her back. The eldest child carrying her Mama. That doesn't happen very often. In that moment I was so grateful. Grateful that I found my people, that they knew my pride had been bruised yet their only concern was for me; How I was doing, if I needed help. I suppose I've gotten over it. Although I am still contemplating burning the "finisher's" sweatshirt. Running for that swag was a key element in my motivation and then to not have a medal or even be able to wear the gear, utter nonsense. Maybe I will keep it hanging in my closet to serve as a reminder, or motivation for the next race. There will be another race. Just as soon as this knee of mine and I have some PT and rest. Fingers crossed, it might even be before the Turkey Trot 5K on Thanksgiving. Which I do believe all six Hansons will be participating in. The girls enjoyed the race environment so much that they've agreed to join us for yet another go. Here's to hoping that we're all at the starting line together come Thanksgiving.
Thing 1 and Thing 2, still all smiles, proud of their medals!