So, I ended up in the emergency room last week. One minute I was walking, the next…not so much. The doctors haven’t shown all of their cards yet, but have issued me a shiny new pair of crutches as my first step in treatment. Oh yeah, the second step is that term that is like hell on Earth for me….rest.
I’ve been a good doobie, and have heeded medical advice. I missed a race I was hoping to tear it up on (and that has a really cute hoodie). But, that was okay…I was “saving” myself for this weekend when I could run the Finn McCool obstacle course race with my son Noah, and the Girls on the Run 5k with my daughter Natalie. If I had to hobble, I was going to do it for my kids.
Last night, I decided Finn was just going to be out of reach for me. I could probably handle the running, (I’m already finding a way to work that back in) but I was worried about the obstacles and the mud making worse that which is starting to feel better. The connection I had hoped to make with Noah was going to require modifications, and I was sad that I would not be able to bring to fruition the adventure I had planned. I felt as if I let him down.
Noah’s friend Matt , veteran of our half marathon adventure in DC, stepped up and took my spot. I reluctantly gave Matt my race number. It’s a good thing I handed it over peacefully, apparently his dad instructed him on how to take me down if I changed my mind and decided to run. :)
“Okay,” I said, “Matt, today you are me.”
He replied, “Noah, that means I’m your mother, AND that I’ll be the bravest one out on that course!”.
I just adore that kid!
I met up with two friends from work and with a heavy heart, watched the herd as it headed out on to the course. I took on the dual role of Sherpa and cheerleader, and found that I was quite excited to do both. I was so proud as each person crossed the finish line, a muddy gooie mess. I got to cheer and clap and take pictures as others have done for me in the past. It didn’t matter that I didn’t run. It will be a lasting memory, and I swelled with pride for Noah and Matt, competing with the big boys. The hug Noah gave me (after he cleaned up) said enough---connection made. (M.R. if you try to give me a muddy hug again, you’ll be looking for a new co-teacher!)
Following the race, I had the honor of watching Natalie test and be promoted to the highest belt a child can earn in her dojo. The next belt she receives will be an adult black belt. I was amazed at her perseverance and focus, while at the same time being able to smile and brighten the room. She inspired me. This child, who has had ample surgeries, therapists, and diagnoses, is excelling. Things don’t come easily for Natalie, but I challenge you to tell her she can’t do something.
Tomorrow, Natalie has trained for and will run her fifth 5k. She has run each one with me by her side. I don’t know if this injury will have me running next to her, or cheering her on from the sidelines—that will have to be a game day decision. But, either way, I’ll be there--supporting her, believing in her and as always, being amazed by her.
My kids taught me today that I don’t need to be next to them to make a connection. That sometimes, if I just step back, I can see how some of the things I have been trying to teach them by example, have taken root.
There are still several question marks as to what this injury will hold for me as a runner, but I’ll figure that out as it goes. For now, I am thankful that it happened, as it has reminded me that some things are way more important than running.