About a year ago, I began to create a bucket list. I had always had some ideas, but hadn’t taken the time to write them down. I believe that we are more likely to meet our goals and go after our dreams if we actually put them in writing. Some of the items on my list that I have already checked off include earning a bachelor’s and a master’s degree, ziplining, running a half marathon, and publishing a book. I have many items left such as visiting Salzburg, Austria, having an in-ground pool, learning to swim well, and meeting some cousins that I haven’t seen since we were little.
One of the goals on my list was to run a 5k with a daughter. I didn’t specify which daughter because I really didn’t know whom I could convince to run with me. When Gary and I began running, one of our objectives was to model a healthy activity for the kids. They just thought we had lost our minds. None of the girls had any interest in running. Gary’s son Bryce already runs (and skis, climbs mountains, and a plethora of other super-challenging activities), and Tamara began running last fall. My girls still weren’t convinced that running could actually be rewarding. Morgan actually detested most any exercise that didn’t involve a yellow ball and racquet. After giving birth to her son and trying to get back to pre-pregnancy form, she began exercising. Her boyfriend is in the army, and is into all types of exercise, particularly crossfit, so she had support at home. After the first of the year, she decided to try running.
Morgan lives in a rural area in Louisiana, and her road is rather narrow – not ideal for running. She kept at it and gradually began adding some distance. When she could run three miles, she decided she wanted to run a 5k when she was home for Memorial Day weekend. I looked online for a race, but could find nothing in the area. She looked online, and found the Strawberry Fest 5k in Beaver Dam, Kentucky, which is about an hour and twenty minutes from here. We registered. Early Saturday morning, Gary, Kyle, Morgan, and I took off for our first race together. Bethany came along to care for Layne while we ran.
I didn’t know if I should stick with Morgan through the race, or run my race and cheer for her at the finish line. After talking with her, we decided that I would run ahead and see what I could do. I think it would have made Morgan feel pressured if I ran with her, and she said she can’t talk while running anyway. She was clearly nervous while we waited for the race to get started. I remember my first race; I had no idea what it would be like. I wondered if I would finish, if I would be last, if I would puke. I finished; I wasn’t last; I didn’t puke. Morgan had the same thoughts running through her mind.
It was finally time to line up. The four of us wished one another well, and lined up. Despite it being 8:00 am, it was already hot and humid. Doesn’t it just figure that the weekend Morgan is to run her first race, we have record temps? After some last minute instructions, we were off. And my hip hurt. I occasionally have trouble with my right hip, so this was not unusual, just uncomfortable. After about a mile, it felt better. I had no major goal for this race; I haven’t been running fast, so I knew I would not PR. I spent most of my time wondering how Morgan was doing. As her mom, I so badly wanted her to feel good about her run.
I felt pretty good about my pace as I rounded the last corner. I am pretty good at maintaining a steady pace, and though I was not fast, I wasn’t too slow either. When I was about 20 feet from the finish line, I felt someone coming up to pass me. I said (probably a bit too loudly), “NO WAY!”, and took off. I was NOT getting passed at the finish line! And I didn’t. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I included a picture:
The picture is a bit fuzzy, but you get the idea! I am not sure why my arm looks so buff; it isn’t. It’s actually getting pretty flabby. Notice my competitor is younger, taller, and more athletic – but I nudged her out at the finish. Ahh…sweet victory!
I crossed the finish line, but am not certain of my exact time. It was something over 28 minutes. I went to a spot to regain my composure and to make sure I wasn’t going to puke. Then it was time to watch for Morgan (Kyle had finished long before I). Bethany, Layne, and I waited for Morgan to come around the final corner. I was so proud as I watched her approach the finish line. She was going to do it! I knew that she would have such an amazing feeling accomplishment, and isn’t that what we all want for our children? I believe her time was just over 31 minutes, which is outstanding. I think she will be more apt to stick with running after experiencing a race. It is so wonderful to see people of all ages, shapes, and sizes running races. It is inspiring to be part of strangers meeting their goals. Morgan didn’t have to walk and she wasn’t last – not even close. She was very proud of her run, and is ready to sign up for more races. Mission accomplished!
I think I will add another entry to my bucket list: Run a half marathon with a daughter. Morgan will do it. Who knows, maybe I should just put ‘Run a half marathon with my daughters’. Or I could really stretch it and put ‘Gary and I will run a half marathon with all five kids’. Now that would be an accomplishment!
The day after the Strawberry race, my family got together at my sister’s house. Morgan and I decided it would be really cool if we all wore our race shirts. Gary and Kyle did not think it would be cool. They wore them anyway.
What is on your bucket list? Write it down and make it happen! My list is a work in progress; as I think of something I want to accomplish, I write it down, then I think about what I need to do to make it happen. I hope when I am 80, I still have goals and dreams – they make life so much more fun!