Sunday, November 6, 2011

With Age Comes Adventure

The first part of this post is for my husband who just celebrated his 41st birthday this past Thursday, November 3rd!
Happy birthday, Jan! I love you more today than yesterday, and I cannot imagine my life without you in it.

 And I think your little girl loves you, too!:)

Several weeks ago, I told Jan I had signed up for a 10K trail race in Dyersburg. I had never done a trail race before, but the website described the course as "easy" and "a beginner's trail run". So, Jan and my mother decided to sign up, too. Jan kept saying, "41 and DONE!" (Only because of his 41st birthday and because he's not as into this running thing as I am.) He's done some 5K's this fall, but he was claiming this would be his last race and highest mileage to run for a race.
 I think Mom signed up just so she wouldn't be left to watch all 3 of our children while Jan and I
ran the race. hehe
No, really, she enjoys the races probably more than I do. And she's good!! Age certainly hasn't slowed her down. I hope when I'm 64 years old, I am still running 5Ks and 10Ks or, dare I say, even 1/2 marathons! 
 I hope Mom doesn't kill me for putting her age on here. :)

Yesterday's race day was cold, but beautiful. The drive to Dyersburg was foggy, but the fog lifted by the time we arrived at Fyrne Lake Farms. It was a family affair as my dad joined us, too. He had been "assigned" the task of watching the children, so his role in this was especially important. We made sure to stop at McDonald's for "Daddy Nick's" senior coffee with creamer before this adventure began. With all of us packed in the minivan, you would have thought we were setting out on some small vacation, but no...just a trail race in the woods was our destination.
There weren't as many racers probably due to the fact that this wasn't a Memphis run, and this was the first ever Fyrne Lake Farms 10K, so we should have felt like pioneers, right?! Hmm...Now, here's where the story takes a dramatic turn.
We were instructed to follow the guy on the four-wheeler. That is, if we could keep up with him. HA!
If not, then follow the little orange flags marking the trail. A slight feeling of relief swept over me when I spotted the flags ahead of the start line 'cause I knew there was no way I was gonna keep up with the guy on the four-wheeler. I wish I had pictures of the start of the course, but my description will have to suffice. There was no pavement, only grass(wet grass) and one small gravel road. Most of our course was grass through the woods, hills up through the trees, and a SMALL, VERY SMALL trail through more trees. There was mud! Slippery mud! About half way through, I even paused for a second to try to wipe some of the mud off on the grass.  And it was about 1/2 way through that I began to worry...not so much for myself, but for my husband and mother! What had I gotten them in to? This did not seem "easy" to me! I passed my mom as I looped around from mile 3 and she exasperatedly said, "I will never do this again!"
It got worse from that point, and I just kept thinking, "O.K., God, I trust that You are gonna see us through this. As soon as I finish, I'll run back to find them and make sure they make it to the end. Please don't let either of them get injured."
The last hill was extremely steep, and I was afraid of slipping. Once I made it to the top and out of the woods, there was a man at a water table. I took a cup of water, and he said, "You've got it! Only about 1/4 of a mile left." That was what I needed to hear. I threw my cup down and started running again. Now, I think I have run enough to kind of gauge a 1/4 mile, and let me tell you...that guy lied!!:) Yes, I was close to the end, but I am pretty sure it was more than 1/4 mile to the finish. (My thoughts were confirmed when Jan said the same thing after his finish. That guy had told him the same thing!)
I gave some cute little girl a "high five" as I neared the finish, and gave it all I had at the end. I filled out my card, grabbed a bottle of water, and headed back to find my mom and husband.
It didn't take long to spot Jan. He was doing great! As I got closer to him he said, "Go find your mom!" (He was worried, too.)
I made my way back to the guy who lied about the distance left. He gave me a funny look, and I simply smiled and said, "No, I am not a glutton for punishment! I am going back to find my mother." Down the slippery hill I went and back through the woods. I passed a few people on the way, some smiling, some with crazy, exhausted looks on their faces. Finally, I found my mom. She thanked me for coming back, and I told her she was close to being finished. I think she said, "This is crazy. It'll be a miracle if I don't twist my ankle." I informed her that there was a monster hill coming up.
 We walked the monster hill together. And when we reached the top and walked out of the woods, Jan was standing next to the guy at the water table. He had already gotten her a cup of water and was waiting to continue to the finish again with us. She crossed the finish at 1:30:00. The oldest person at the race that day and the only person in her age group... I think that is something she should be very proud of!
My time was 1:06:58 and surprisingly, I won 3rd place in the 30-34 female age group. My first award! Granted, there weren't as many racers as your typical Memphis area races, but hey, it's a start. And I have a tacky lovely custom plaque to show for it. :)
Mom also won a plaque for first place in her age group and...GUESS WHAT?
Jan won 3rd place in his age group!!! His time was approx. 1:13:00.
I couldn't believe that we all 3 placed!
We drug ourselves through cold temps, trekked through mud and woods, up unsightly hills, over holes, and down slippery slopes to great finishes for our first (and possibly ONLY) trail race!

We all laughed and laughed about it on the way home!
(I am thankful we COULD laugh about it. hehe)
Everytime I think about it, it brings a smile to my face.
What a great adventure!
Oh, and by the way, Jan says he's done with running, but I wouldn't count him out quite yet. I think getting an award yesterday might just push him to do this running thing a little more.
 Happy birthday, Jan! Age brings adventure, don't you agree?


Brandi said...

Awesome! Great job!

Elizabeth said...

WOW!! I did not realize your mom was 64!!! Way to go Mrs. Marla! Yes, we can all hope that we can look half as good at that age!

I would agree with you, age does bring adventures maybe you will have a running partner in Jan. Kevin is the same way, always saying, "never again" but somehow I keep talking him into things. Funny how that happens. Good luck on your 1/2 marathon, it looks like you are totally prepared.