A few months ago I was completely down as I thought I was going to have to accept that I would never run again.

My running buddy looked at me with pity when I talked about someday running again, as if I were in denial. But my physical therapist looked me in the eye and said, “Never, ever let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. I am confident that you will run again if you’re smart and take it one step at a time.”

Last night I was horribly nervous; I had a bad cold, sore throat and runny nose. I wondered if this was a smart thing to do for my ankle, even though I had no pain after my 30 minute run the day before. There was a 70% chance of rain for the entire next morning.

Fortunately, this morning I got up at 7 a.m. and braved the pouring rain in 50 degree weather. After seeing the forecast yesterday, I joked to friends that maybe there would be a “God” moment like in those tacky pictures where black clouds part and some sunny rays poke their way through just so I could have my 5k comeback.

I had my God moment. I woke up and my nose that has been running mercilessly for the past few days had stopped. I had no pounding sinus headache. The little guy in my life (who at 12 is now taller than me) was chipper and didn’t mind getting dressed in the dark and rain to go to the race site.

Paul closing the gap in the 2012 Run for the Schools 1/2 mile. Notice the sun rays trying to reach him!

By the time they got ready to line up for his 1 mile race, which got shortened to a huge group 1/2 mile fun run, the sun was shining down, just on us. Someone was saying, “You can do this. ” My son got a very determined look on his face and decided that since it was only a half-mile, he would sprint the darn thing and get first in line. He got next to #1, a 16-something kid who looked built and born to run, and tried to pace with him for the first half. As usual, my little person got out of breath from not pacing himself, but still managed to pull out the stops and place 3rd boys and 5th overall. He was very proud of his first ribbon.

Proud of his 1/2 mile 3rd place boy place! First ribbon in an official race. Probably not his last…

I have to admit that I HATE running in the rain. I’m afraid I’ll trip on a leaf and go splat. I hate having my shoes go squish squish squish, especially when I’ve paid an awful lot for specialized Asics. But today I was so psyched to finish 5k (the farthest I’d gone was 30 minutes two days ago), that I got out there and did it. And I did, in just over 35 minutes. I didn’t push my pace at all, but just plugged away and didn’t walk at all. No pain, but I definitely felt the distance was greater than I had run recently.

Post 5K bliss 2012

I noticed while running that there were lots of little kids running with their parents. This was an event to raise money for the Iowa City Public Schools, so it was no surprise. Some of the parents had shocking attitudes to me, though. Obviously most of them had not trained (parents included, but especially the kids). Some parents were wisely telling their kids to pace themselves so they could get through the whole thing, but some were pretty rough on their little ones.

I admit it’s a hard call between wanting your kid to succeed and not wanting them to quit, but there are gentle ways to push them. When a kid has tears streaming down their face, it might be time to slow down or walk it a little to let them catch their breath so they can feel in control. But some parents were admonishing them for being “babies” or telling them, “No, our walk time is up.” This was at a 10-11 minute mile pace. CHILL PEOPLE! I wonder what those same parents were doing when they were 6-10. Probably not running a complete 5k. When he was 5-8, I would always tell my little one to think about how much closer we were getting to pancakes, or make up fun games like, “Let’s skip for a block.” He usually pulled out the stops and smoked me at the end, but I never minded looping back  in a race to make sure he was o.k.  or walking a little with him. It wasn’t about me; it was about making sure he was confident and having fun.

The only being in our family that is not happy today is my running buddy Rose. She got left behind as I knew there would be a crowd for this run and she’s not a rain dog. But we got in such a good run on Friday that she immediately collapsed on the couch. Rose, there will be more of these!

There’s only one thing to do after a good run…

We sure did have some family fun today, and I heard my little big guy tell my mom on the phone that I did great. That made me even happier to know that he realized how important it was to me to comeback, and that he values my love of running as much as I do. He may not end up a runner, but he knows that if you really want something, and work to make it happen, it will probably all work out. Thanks to all my friends, even those who slept through the race and called me after (YEAH, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE, CANDY ASS!), for their love and support! We had a great brunch and talked of fitness plans. I can’t wait to see what the future will bring!


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