Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Kaloshis Family Runners-Mill Pond 5k

I come from a big, close family.  Well, close in feelings, but geographically we are about 500 miles apart.  Thanks to Facebook, we keep in touch on the little tidbits of life. 

It was through Facebook that I started to see several members of my family have started to run/walk to get in shape.  It got my wheels turning, and it gave me what my husband calls my "make shit happen" face. I was going to recruit as many Kaloshi as possible to run their first 5k. 

It started with the normal family stuff:  I will if she will, I don't want to be last, you'll just laugh at me, I really don't run that fast, etc., When all of that settled, I got my SIL Beth, niece Heather, her husband Joe, their baby Logan, my nephew Mike, and my son Noah to toe the line.  My (now 30 pounds lighter) sister Danielle wanted to run, but hurt herself lifting a patient and had to bow out.  At least she wore a Chara shirt to the race as motivation.  Love you Danielle!!!

My brother Rick also considered running.  However, he looked at me and said, "No Eva, I could never keep up with you, You are in great shape, and I couldn't take losing to you".  However, he actually phrased it as, "I have to put the boats in the water, so we can cruise around all weekend".  Don't worry Rick, as your (almost) Irish twin--I know what you meant!

The race start was a literal family reunion.  We were all giggly, and I was just plain groggy after getting only about 4 hours of sleep.  Beth, when that situation arises again, I designate you to make all decisions for me :)!

I considered running with 18 month old Logan in my arms, but in the end, my competitive spirit won out and I plopped that kid back into his stroller.  I knew after the race, I wouldn't put him down again until he learned to pronounce my name.  I'm happy to report that he ultimately did.  He calls me Eva/Ava.  (Lord, someday please let someone pronounce my name correctly.)

The gun went off and Noah whizzed by me in a blur of Bruin's garb.  Okay kid, you wanna play...let's go.   We started at the Jenny Grist Mill and ran through Morton Park and back.  I kept Noah in my sights for most of the race, but he kicked it at the end and beat me by about a minute.  GREAT work kiddo.

I went back on the course (Noah sat on a hill-spent) and found my nephew, Mike.  I paced him in to the finish.  Okay, I made that kid work HARD.  I taunted and sprinted and he kept up.  That look of sheer pride at the finish was my thank you, and I LOVED it!

Next came Beth, who was so proud of herself that she forgot to look at the clock to see her time.  No worries, she set a personal record and wants to sign up for more races.  Go Girl!

Heather and Joe found the finish next and their smiles were contagious.  Before they finished, I went back on the course once more and kidnapped Logan.  I ran that kid through the finish chute high above my head.  I'm certain he won the 0-2 age group!

It was a fun adventure and I am so glad we did it.  Later that day, they were asking how long a 10k do they find other races...where are results posted...etc.  I couldn't stop smiling!

I don't know if they will register again, or if it was one time fun.  But for that 5k, we were a family of runners.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

It's "Only" a Marathon

I went to the Dr. office on Monday.  He said the words that I’ve wanted to hear, “yes Eva, you can run”.  He said lots of other words too, but I must admit that I wasn’t nearly as focused on them as I was on my clearance.   Yes, there are more things to do with my “treatment plan” and yes, I’m not fully healed…cartiledge tears take time…but I can resume training.  YES!

Next, I had to decide how much I wanted to push it on Saturday.  It killed me to miss Segahunda after my injury, and I searched the internet  to find another trail marathon.  It was between a race in Philly or Mohican.  I NEEDED to race.   I was willing to travel, and I wanted hills, mud, roots, single track---the whole nine yards.  Rog and I both had a couple DNS's that were bothering us.  We both ultimately decided to run Mohican.  He was doing the 50 miler and me the marathon.

The problem was, he was working his subtle powers of persuasion to get me to join him on the 50M.  I said,”no”, but I was thinking about it.  He brought in reinforcements.  I said “no” to her...still thinking about it.   Then I went for a run, and I said “no” for myself.  I stopped thinking about it after that. 

Yes, I could do the 50, and I was tempted, but this is not the time.   I decided to actually put a few of my under-used common sense brain cells to work, and blast out the best marathon possible.  It will be number 39-the age I was when I ran my first marathon.

Rog tried one more time—“you will love this course—you’ll be kicking yourself”. 
Nope, I’m still good.

Roger, without your encouragement, I would not be half the runner that I am today, nor would I have ever crossed my first 100 mile distance.  You challenge me to be my best, and I am forever grateful.  Thank you.

I cut the course up into roughly thirds.  The first third, I got in a single-track conga line with a pace I found manageable.  It was fun and there were some amazing climbs.  I was happy nothing was hurting more than Advil could take care of.  I knew immediately it was going to be a good day.

The next third was my playground, and I understood exactly what Roger meant.  There were rocks, roots, mud, river crossings, root walls to climb and a spectacular waterfall.  I texted Rog that I loved the course.  He knew I would.

The final third, things were feeling great, so I decided to go chicking.  I passed EVERY runner that came into my line of vision…33 (Chara) in  total.  I was running strong, fast and with a purpose.  I can’t remember the last time I opened up my stride like that and let loose.  

I crossed the finish line utterly spent.   I sat down on the grass and reflected how blessed I am to do something I love so much.  My injury forced some rest on my over-trained muscles, and it brought me back to that euphoria that I feel when I hit single track.  I most certainly could have done 50 miles—the hip was ready, but I didn’t feel like I had to prove anything to myself.  Rather, I am confident that I'm healthy enough to run the rest of my race schedule.  Sorry buddy, I'm not kicking myself, but I will be back next year.

So, in the end, I may have “only” run a marathon, but to me it was so much more.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Some Things Are More Important Than Running….

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.