Monday, January 28, 2013

Feel Like I Belong

A 30K pushing a stroller… when I signed up… I didn’t realize the weather was going to be quiet as warm and humid as it turned out. I thought if I did it with a stroller it would help me “slow down naturally” since the marathon is now just 3 weeks away… and for those who think I don’t have an ounce of quit in me, I’d spend a few days trying to talk Kiana out of it just because the weather was looking rough. The day before, when there was a prediction of rain and hot (by my race standards anyways since it was going to be in the mid 60’s), I told her I could get her a movie or something, and she responded with well I can wear a swimsuit… She even went and found them and this fashion queen tried on which one she wanted to wear. It was actually too cold for a stroller but that didn’t deter one from putting her one on when we were getting dressed in in the morning (she changed).

Other races I’ve done with a stroller I usually start in the back because people don’t like strollers in the front because they are going to be in the way but I had the credibility and friends to start this one in the front. The playlist was mostly songs Kiana and I listen to together. They ranged from Disney songs from Cinderella to Will Smith’s Just the Two of Us to a song from the Vincent Van Gogh doctor who episode that we both like.  When I run with her either in races or a run I always carry my phone as both the music player and as “insurance” in case anything goes wrong (thank goodness nothing ever has), but perhaps because this was the longest race we’d ever done, it was by far the most she’s ever talked to me in a race. The music was relatively loud so she’d yell daddy and then I’d turned it down and we  had a little conversation. Usually, they are shorter so we're going faster and at mile 4, mile 4! she turned up and asks when are we going to start going faster? I had no good answer. There was a hairpin turn that we popped up to one wheel to turn it fast and she “whooed” and asked if we could do that again. We accidentally hit a curb at a turn and she said she liked flying.
The volunteers were kind enough to splash me because running in that weather even without a stroller I would have needed it. Kiana would yell for them to do it too. We had listened to the playlist the night before and she video taped the entire thing as we skipped through songs (that will never be posted on here since my singing is horrible) and during the race she wanted us to karaoke to the speaker. I didn’t have the lungs to do it the whole way but while the crowd we were passing by was clearly amused at us singing, “Am I a man or am I a muppet?”.  It was less clear whether those I was running next to were amused or annoyed as we sang Toy Story’s “It’s the time of your life so live it well” and Monster’s “If I didn’t have you.” Either way, makes me think karaoke might not be so bad.

Carry on came on, as I had hoped, on a tough hill at mile 8. I buckled down because the headwind made the stroller a sail. Someone passed me and asked if the way I was leaning on the stroller made it easier than running without one. I smiled and let’s just say that was one guy I committed to  making sure I finished in front of (I did). At that moment though I focused on the lyrics, My head is on fire but my legs are jut fine and so I carried Kiana. About then, this girl who came with me the neuro oncological appointment, was also there cheering us on. Kiana waved as we got cheered. I pretty much just kept trying to go uphill.

Still, about mile 14, it was the most emotional I’ve ever gotten during a race. This song has made the playlist of a few races. It’s Go the Distance from Hercules:

I will find my way
I can go the distance
I'll be there someday
If I can be strong
I know ev'ry mile
Will be worth my while
I would go most anywhere
to feel like I belong

It was inspirational to hear Kiana belting it. I’ve spoken of the loneliness of this journey many times. But perhaps that’s a misunderstanding on my own part, because there have been people there all along. And no, no one gets every part of it but is there anyone of us who someone understands every part of their life? But on that course, my daughter was in front of me singing. There were people along the course and/or after like Matt from Hawktober, staff from Livestrong, staff and friends from the Austin marathon, friends from the Ship of Fools, friends from team Luke's, the director of the brain power 5k, the girl who came with me to my neuro oncological appointment. Maybe this journey is not as lonely as I sometimes think it is and at least for one day, one 30k, it was perfect.

I was getting some post race treatment when it was announced that I had come in 11th over all and won my age group. Not won the stroller division, but won my age group 30-34 pushing a stroller in the longest race I’ve ever done with her. We went to a great brunch afterwards with some running friends where Kiana got a balloon because well she finished ahead of me and the victor (once in a while) should get spoiled. We came home and I downloaded Hercules. Kiana watched it while I sat in an Epsom salt bath. The medal, like all the races she’s been a part of hangs in her room. Every mile was worth the while and I had gone somewhere I felt like I belonged. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on another race well run. A great story. See you on Wednesday!