I consider myself to be many things, but never has any of those things had anything to do with running. However, I have realized over the past 30 (or so) years of my lifetime that something I have been naturally blessed with is the ability to be is a cheerleader for my family and friends (though never officially wearing a cheerleading uniform). So when last year, after completing the YMCA half marathon, Frank decided that we would all run the family 5K the next year together so that the kids could all get their own medal I was definitely interested.
I didn't then realize how impacted by the event our family and definitely I would be. The whole event was filled with such compelling literal and figurative life lessons. It was an experience that continually pointed me to the big picture of my and my families purpose on Earth. I know that we will continue to draw on the experience together as a family.
The first special moment I had came a few weeks ago. Frank had planned on waking up early on a Saturday morning and taking the kids on a 2.5 mile/run in preparation for the race. I needed to feed the baby before she would be ready to leave the house so they left without us to beat the heat. Frank told me where he was going to go on the walk and suggested that after I was done feeding the baby that I put her in the stroller and meet them along the way. They left and had been gone half an hour before I was ready to start with the baby in the stroller. The path they took was along the sidewalk path of the long canal by our home. The canal, with brick walls lining both sides of it, slightly bends and curves which makes it block a long distance view of what is ahead on the path. I could not see my family, but I knew they were there. I knew that eventually baby Ruby and I would meet up with them. Soon enough I started to hear what I though were the echoes of their excited voices but I could still not see them. Then after covering a bit more of the distance their voices became louder. Pretty soon I could see them. Then I began to hear them shouting, "DAD I CAN SEE MOM, THERE SHE IS DAD I CAN SEE HER!" Soon we were together again. They were so happy to have met us on the path and we happily walked the rest of the way back home together.
As I experienced this, my heart was moved to thoughts of the plan of happiness that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. That plan is family. He wants families to be together and work together to get back home to Him. He wants us to love each other so much that we cheer and run to each other on our pathway through life and help each other along the way. We can do that by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, keeping our covenants (such as baptism), and listening to the Holy Ghost.
The second of many cool things that happened came with our oldest son Charles. He is a man of rules and finality. He heard the announcer at the race say that we would only have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the race before they had to open back up the road for cars. Not understanding time so much yet, being 6 years old, he panics and has great anxiety over being timed in any capacity. Hearing this news of having only 2 hours and 20 minutes struck fear in his heart. He told me later in the day, hours after the race was completed, "Mom I was so scared that we couldn't do it. I did not think that we could do it. I didn't think we would finish in time."
Knowing this about Charles made what happened to him during the race very interesting. He took it upon himself to run as much as he could. He being our man of rules knew that we had stressed that we wanted to stay together as a family during this race so no one would get lost, but he also knew that during all of our practice walk/runs that Frank would give him a landmark in the distance that he could run ahead to and then wait for the rest of the family. He asked Frank to set landmarks for him the whole way. He ran to them, rested, then was ready to run ahead to the next. His gumption inspired his older sister and younger brother to also run. Orson, the youngest at the race, had woken up several times the night before the race to ask me "Mama is it time for the race yet." So he was exhausted and struggling at first. But as he saw Charles' example he too wanted to run. He wanted to be fast and awesome like Charles. Maelee, not to be out done by her brothers was likewise inspired to run.
Then as Charles was looking back to us as he made it to the mile 2 sign he tripped and fell onto his knees. The road rash was deep and hurt him badly. (It was gruesome enough that he caught the attention of race staffers and right after they gave us our medals a man approached us and told us that they had already alerted first aid, and the EMT would be waiting for us.) He was crying and upset. He did not want to race anymore. Frank took him aside. He told Charles that he needed to make a choice. He needed to decide if he would let his fall ruin his race, or if he would get back up and keep going. Charles got up and ran, literally with blood dripping down his leg, to the next landmark. He kept it up and finished first across the finish line.
To see Charles start out doubting, continue with determination, fall down, then choose to get up and carry on and finish first meant a lot to me. He could have asked to be carried. We would have done it. He could have decided to walk slowly and finish. We would have walked with him. But instead he got up and decided to keep running even if his knee was dripping blood. He made a choice and finished running. We all were very proud of him.
Many other details and experiences of race day made it a worthwhile and memorable family outing. While I continue to agree with the old cowboys in the saloon in "Back To The Future III," who thought the idea of "running for fun" was a hilarious joke, I will now be an avid supporter of any future family races we can do together. From watching Frank guide and encourage the kids through the training and race day, to hearing Orson exclaim "MAMA I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL," it was incredible day for the Adams family.
P.S. - If anyone ever wonders which parent Orson inherited his goofball smile from, all arrows apparently point to me.
P.P.S. - When Charles told me that before the race started he didn't think we could do it, I responded with the question "Well we did finish what do you think now?" He said, "we worked together as a family mom and we did it." Then I thought, "Is someone feeding this kid his lines or what?" #bigpayoff