Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yes, I WILL run (at least for a few minutes) for chocolate!

I promised ages ago that I would write down some of my experiences from the past few months and I find myself wanting to avoid housework for a few minutes (don't worry, I have made my small slaves clean up a ton before I took a break!) so I thought it would be a good opportunity to document how my race occurred. Be warned, this is a very long story. Here is how it all started...

In early September, I was called as Girl's Camp Director for my Ward. Camp is going to be on a Ward level, so that means the planning and details all fall on me. This includes the hikes. I love camp but the hikes have never been a strength for me. So, I decided to walk and get into shape. I decided to walk around the track at the elementary school during soccer practices. We had practice there 4 days a week for an hour each, so I thought it was a good plan. Then this set of emails followed between me and the coach's wife of Spencer's team...

from Allred
to Courtney
date Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 7:31 PM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

Missed seeing you at the game tonight but glad to see that Dave is in town!
We would be glad to cover snack on Oct 1 and will let them know.
Thanks for being such a great team mgr!

to Allred
date Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 10:07 PM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

Frankly, I would have rather been at the game and not at Carter's practice but we had to divide and conquer tonight and Dave wanted to go to the game (the person who went to the game didn't have to take any little girls with them). Practice did, however, allow me the opportunity to get my walking in around the track. I figure with girl's camp next summer, I really have to get serious about getting into shape. I am at the track 4 days a week and started walking last week with adding 1 lap every time I go around. I did my 6 laps today and I was thrilled to find out that although this track is short, it's very wide and still is .25 miles each time around. So, today I went 1.5 miles. By Thursday's practice, I will be up to 2 miles. I plan on walking every time I can and see how much I can do by the end of the season. I think winter will be rough, but in the Spring I can walk again and I will start where I left off.
You are welcome to join me any time!! :)

to Courtney
date Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 7:54 AM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

Good for you! Wow, that's great that you'll be up to 2 miles!

I have an idea if you're willing. Let's sign up for a 5k (3.1 miles) late this fall. There are usually quite a few for thanksgiving. That will help give the extra motivation to keep going (at least that's how it works for me :)

What do you think?


to Allred
date Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 9:48 AM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

This is really funny. I had some feelings I couldn't come to grips with when I read your email, so here's the breakdown of my thought process. Remember that I am always light hearted about stuff and the following is not intended to make race-runners feel bad. It's all said with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye. So here goes...

How I normally feel:
I am and always have been fundamentally opposed to people signing up for torture. Running is something people do in an emergency like to save a child from the middle of the road or to get away from someone shooting at you. Running is not EVER for fun. It's just not natural. :)
Now, before you tell me it's okay to walk in a race... people who start out walking in a race kind of defeats the purpose of a "race." Race means that you are trying to get there first and the person who starts out walking has no intention of getting there first, right?? :)

The feelings I didn't understand:
You said we should do it and I immediately thought, "Sure! It sounds like fun. I can totally do that!!" a 1/2 second later, "Wait! What!?! A 5K, that's like a race and people do it for fun... Hmmm..."

Unfortunately, my excitement and enthusiasm was short lived and followed by my remembering that I am scheduled for surgery in November and will not be doing much of anything for a few weeks. But... I should be good by Christmas so keep an eye out for one of those Christmas ones ;)

It was a good idea and probably could have been easily talked into it. Thanks... keep the ideas coming!!! :)


to Courtney
date Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 10:06 AM
subject Re: Snack for soccer

You are so funny. I'm going to keep after you though because I am one of those apparently rare people that sign up for races not to win but to #1 - just finish, #2 - get a cool shirt, #3 - motivate me to stay off my butt and keep running!!!
There is a 5K at National Harbor that I've been thinking about. It's called running for Hot Chocolate!! http://www.hotchocolate15k.com/dc/ I'll be on the look out for more!!!
You said to "keep the ideas coming" :-)

I forgot to add to #1 -despite the pace (there is no shame I'm walking. That's what I tell myself. Most important is that I'm actually participating!)

to Allred
date Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 8:47 PM
subject Re: Snack for soccer
Okay, how is it that you just talked a severely overweight, completely out of shape, person who hates the idea of racing, into doing a 5K with you?? No, seriously, this is the craziest thing on Earth.

I'm in - as long as you walk me through the process. What do I wear, what do I do, etc. I need step by step instructions - ahhh, I'm so nervous.

I know that I will be dead last, that strangers will be cheering for me as I crawl over the line. I can hear the whispers now - "did you see that fat lady at the very back of the line? What was she thinking? Wow, she must have a very persuasive friend."

Honestly, the fact that you could talk me into this is saying a lot. I'm thinking you could talk anyone into anything. Have you considered being a salesperson somewhere. Oh! You should be one of those people that sells time shares...


Let me know when you are all signed up. I want you to sign up first... :)


Further proof that misery loves company, I'm thinking about asking my sister to sign up too! More fun at the post-race party, right??
...and so that's how it all started. Somehow she talked me into it. Somehow I signed up for it. Somehow. I did better than I have ever done before on sticking to an exercise program. I had surgery 3 weeks before the race. After all my "misery loves company" campaigning there were 7 of us total from my Ward and then my sister, Jaclyn. When I asked Jaclyn, I actually started to chicken out on asking her to do it with me and presented more as coming to support me and just being there at the finish line. She called me back and said, "I've been thinking about it and I'm going to do it with you." It was crazy, not only did I have someone from my family coming to support me, but I actually had someone from my family doing it with me. Then, over the next few weeks, one by one the other ladies joined in.
The night before the race the ladies from my ward all got hotel rooms and went out to dinner together at the National Harbor in Oxen Hill Maryland which is where our race was going to be. It was a blast. I don't ever do "ladies night out" type things and it was fun just being with friends. It was actually like being back in high school or college except that our conversations turned to our actual kids and husbands versus our future kids and husbands. Those ladies are all fun and little crazy and it was nice to just get out. Favorites from the evening were hanging out in Charming Charlie's and the Peeps store.
The next morning I woke up at 4:30. I was nervous about the race and couldn't sleep AND I also wanted to give my body some time to wake up. Jaclyn met us at the hotel at 5:30 and my friends we all went together to the race at 6:00 (except for 2 of the ladies that were doing the 15K and left about 20 minutes after us). We waited in traffic to get into the parking lot and then waited again for the race to start. It was supposed to start at 7:15 but didn't start until long after 8. Apparently, there were some accidents on the Beltway - big surprise! The race had a slow start, which was good for me because we were all frozen and it was hard to walk, let alone jog. J and I started jogging down the hill and I had to stop because I had no control over my body and felt as if I was going to trip and go rolling down the hill. I just kept walking, trying to walk faster down hills, trying to jog occasionally (not much), and then just walking at a steady pace. I was probably walking about 3.5 miles an hour, which is pretty fast for a fat lady. Then, about a mile from the finish line, I saw a man on the side of the road cheering for people. He didn't know any of us but he was giving encouragement nonetheless. I became very emotional. I knew how far the finish line was. I saw that man and began to get teary-eyed. I then saw a family reunite on the route, the mom was so happy to see her little girl again. I, again, had tears well up inside. I finished that straight part and turned for the final half mile of the race, it was up a large hill. I was tired, that hill seemed impossible. I could see the finish line, I knew it wasn't very far, but it seemed so far away. I made it up the hill and you had to make a left turn to go to the finish line. I was exhausted and ready to be done. As I neared the turn, my dear friend, Emily, came out running up to me cheering me on. I burst into tears. I was so grateful to see a familiar face and so overwhelmed by my experience. Then, behind her comes Shauna Ploeger, also cheering me on. Then, to my left, Anne McDonough. Then, behind her, Stephanie Whetten. All of them came to run across the finish line with me. All of them were there to support ME. Just as we turned the corner to get to the finish line, I hear the announcer say, "Courtney, put your hands in the air, show everyone where you are!" Me? How on Earth did he know it was me?? Then, from the announcer's stand, comes Jaclyn. My sister. She had him do the shout out to me. She came out to greet me. Having her there meant everything to me. I was sooo happy to see her. We all starting jogging and ran across the finish line together. I have amazing friends and an amazing sister! I was so emotional, at this point, tears were streaming down my face. I don't often feel a sense of accomplishment, it's one of my many personality flaws. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment as I crossed the finish line is indescribable and overwhelming. After the race was over, the sponsors of the race, Ghirardelli Chocolate, had chocolate fondue and hot chocolate for all of the racers. It was super delicious and totally worth the 3 mile walk! :) Within 30 minutes, I had an analogy for life of my entire race experience.
Our lives are often compared to a race. We are often told to endure to the end. I did that, I endured to the end. I didn't have to do it alone. Along the way, we have a prophet and other church leaders cheering us on. They, likely, don't know us personally, but they want us to succeed. (the man I saw first along the way cheering me on) Others, finish before us and get to reunite with their families on the other side. (the lady seeing her daughter and husband after her race was finished) Finally, when we are in the hardest parts of our life, when we need it the most, our friends coming running out to support us, our families are there to build us up and celebrate our achievements, and all of them help us finish strong. When we are done, we will know that we accomplished something that seemed impossible but in the end, was totally worth it.
I got home that afternoon and immediately started looking for another race to enter. We signed the whole family up for a 1K (we went with the small one so the little girls could participate) the very next day. It was a walk for Make A Wish Foundation. That race is another story.

My 2 year old's potty mouth

Having a child with a speech delay or other issue is usually no laughing matter. I will say, however, that as much as I dislike the idea of swearing, I still find it absolutely hilarious when she says certain words - to the point that I actually ask her to repeat things, just so I can chuckle a second time. My favorites are the work drawer and apple. I won't repeat what apple sounds like, if you're not sure, hold your tongue with fingers and say the word, it's very similar to how she pronounces it. My all time favorite is drawer. She often will ask me to get her a spoon from the "hoe-wer" (pronounced like whore) or put my keys away or whatever. I always have to stop and see who she's calling that. Okay, my kids would tell me that this post was not appropriate, so I'm moving on. :)

Monday, January 9, 2012