Every now and then, someone will ask the hubby or me what helps us stay motivated. There are many, many answers to that, but a major one is our kids. In the beginning, it wasn't even a matter of getting healthy so that we could keep up with them. It was a matter of getting healthy so we would be here at all. 10 years of being morbidly obese will drastically reduce your life expectancy, something we had somehow never stopped to think about. Another thing that we didn't give much thought to was the damage we were doing to our kids. It was an everyday thing to hit the drive-thru at least once a day, if not twice, and what we cooked at home was equally as bad. Emma, being the oldest, took the brunt of our bad habits. I hate to think of the amount of damage our choices did to her. The good news is nearly all of the damage of obesity and living an unhealthy lifestyle can be reversed with living a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy and exercising regularly. We hope that by establishing a certain routine with the kids, it will become a way of life not just for Brian and I, but the kids as well.
Which, for the above stated reasons, brings me to one of my most "Proud Mom" moments..... Emma had started to express a desire to 'run races' like mama and papa about the time Brian was training to do his first half marathon. This was the Surf City International Marathon and they just happened to have a kids 1 mile fun run. So while papa was pushing through his 13.1, Emma, Sophie, Bubba and I headed for the kids mile. I thought Em would walk/run it, but nope. She ran like lightning and was waiting at the finish line w/a smile, a race official, and a medal when I came staggering across the finish with Sophie on my shoulders and dragging Bubba by the hand. That race if well known for its awesome surf board medals, and they were enough to get her hooked!
After that run, she ran the kids race at the Sound to Narrows in Tacoma WA with her cousin. No medal, but she got a great shirt and a loaf of bread! She also decided at that point that she was ready to try a 5k. A 5k, with the grown up runners. Hmm....I wasn't sure if she was ready for that or not. Its one thing to run a kids race and finish middle of the pack, but I wasn't sure how she would handle finishing not so middle of the pack in a grown up race. What if she was last, would she care?? Or would that be good for her, reinforce what Brian and I have always said about running, its the finish that matters, not where in the pack you are when you finish.
Well, I promised her by the end of summer I would run a 5K with her. I waited till the last minute and registered us both for a 5k trail run through Brazen Racing. On August 29, 2009, Emma and I ran her first 5k. It was our first of what I hope to be many runs together, and meant more to me than she could possibly have known!! And man, did she run!! It was record breaking hot that day, we started at 8 and it was already in the 80's. She pushed herself pretty hard, and the aid station workers were a bit worried about her, they dumped water over her for a minute and sent her on her way with a cup of M&M's. A runner who was in the process of passing us stopped and checked on her, said she looked a bit hot, took a bottle of Gatorade out of his pack and insisted she have it. Once we got into the shaded, woods part of the run, she flew, and I mean flew! I have blurry pic after pic of her from behind, ponytail flying!
She finished 1st in her age division (out of 2). Which is something she knows her mama and papa have always dreamed of accomplishing, but never have, so she felt pretty high on life!! She savored every moment of the after race activities, ate and drank, filled her goody bag and got a whopping medal. To her, it was a race, but to me, it was assurance that we are on the right track! However we had compromised her health by keeping her alive on curly fries for 5 years, we were undoing the damage!
She went on to run another race through Brazen Racing, the Rocky Ridge 5k. She ran this with papa, and loved every second of it! Brian found the hills to be challenging, but Emma was again loving life! She finished again with a huge smile, 1st in her age division (out of 2). Brazen has amazingly huge medals. Seeing how she gets a finishers medal and an age division medal, she has a nice collection growing on the shelf in her room. Did I mention she, at 7, is the youngest runner they had ever had? Or how much fun we had jumping cow pies? More importantly, she has developed her own love of running and specifically trail running. She is seeing the benefits of being healthy, and soaking up the beauty of the trail and creation at the same time! We are super proud of our Little Runner and her love of life!
I should also mention that we are in love with Brazen Racing. This is their inaugural year, and they put on a stellar event. Their runs are challenging, but the rewards are worth it. Really, the courses are beautiful and challenging, medals are huge,the aid station volunteers are super, and the shirts are great quality. They have wonderful post race eats including It's It ice-cream sandwiches!! If you are thinking about giving trail running a go, we would highly recommend any Brazen event.