Monday, September 20, 2010

Me, my sister, and a 5k

On Saturday I spent the morning at the MN Children's Museum with baby goat, my sister and my parents (Mr. Goat was home sick).  We had a great time and it served to distract me from the huge challenge awaiting me that evening.  You see that evening I was participating in the Liz Logelin Foundation 5k, the 5k that I committed to running way back in March. I had signed up when registrations opened in June and then my life imploded a bit.  Baby goat was in the hospital a few times as we figured out how to best treat his asthma, then I had a month of job transition which while good is still stressful.  Then the last 6 weeks have been learning the ropes of my new position and new church while trying to get our Sunday School programming up and running.

Whew, I am tried just remembering the last few months.  It is no surprise then that my Couch to 5k training was at zero for almost three whole months before the race on Saturday.  So to say that I was dreading this race was to put it mildly.  But, I knew that I had to do it anyway.  So I swallowed my fears and put on my tighter-than-they-were-two-months-ago running shorts and set out to Minnehaha Park with my sister by my side.
Me, Beth and Missy Pre-race

Once there it was hard not to get caught up in the excitment.  Missy was there, who started training at the same time as me, and whom I have seen grow and flourish this past year in particular.  Beth was there too, 5 weeks postpartum, with an adorable daughter that made my ovaries ache, ready to run again.  Darcie, Kellyn, Cindy, Laura and all sorts of blogger and twitter friends were there volunteering and giving their time to a cause they care about.  To a cause I care about too.  There was a reason I chose this 5k afterall.

I may be telling my story of the day but the real reason for the day was Matt, and his need to serve other people to strive to ease other's pain and to transform his wife's horribly tragic death into something that brings life into the world.  He does it for Liz his wife, now gone, and for his daughter, Maddy, who will know her mother in part by the powerful deeds done in her name.

Here I am with Matt (post race).  A reminder to me that it is about so much more than me and a 5k

Still, despite the wonderful cause and all the friends, there was one other person who made sure I was still there.  My sister, Kristin.  She flew from Michigan people to be here with me for this event, this 5k that I failed to train properly for.  She flew in after a week work trip, on 2.5 hours sleep, to walk beside me on a race that she could have run herself much faster than me.

It was her who acknowledged all those unspoken fears and still said unequivocally "You Rock sister Dear."  She came and she walked with me every step of the way. 

Kristin and I pre-race.  Isn't she lovely?!

Before I knew it, it was time to line up and get this run started.  The runners, like Missy here, were in the front, while the walkers were in the back.

I for one was grateful that there were so many walkers.  Even if I ended up the slowest one there were at least a few people who I'd maybe be able to keep pace with.  Still I was afraid of being the last one in, of being the worst "runner" in something that is just for me and a charity I believed in.

It was surreal being in a sea of runners and athletes.  My place is most often on the sidelines.  With the exception of a few years as a star soccer goalie in elementary school, sports and I haven't been friends.  I am not fast, I am hardly coordinated, and my short stubby legs keep me on the fringes of most events.  Yet, here I was, at the heaviest I've been in years, amongst these people, some of whom I knew, and some of whom I didn't know, ready to run a race.  Again I felt out of place, but it was too late because just as I was trying to process these thoughts it was time to go.

And so we did.  We walked for 5 minutes to have a good warm up and then we alternated walking and running as I felt like I could.  Kristin would say, "Let's run when we get to the streetlight and run until the pedestrian sign" and I would agree and work my way into a slow trot.  I felt every one of those pounds I've gained, but I would complete each stretch and then walk some more while I gained my breath.

"Action" Shot

And sure enough a mile marker passed, and then the turnaround, and then mile two, and we just kept going.  It wasn't fast, it wasn't pretty, but we pushed forward.  I kept asking for the time and to my surprise I found that I was on pace to make it under an hour.  The hour was my goal.  The hour seemed to represent the line between progress made and a complete regression into slug-ness.  But we were on pace, so we kept going with my sister always whispering in my ear, "You can do it, you ROCK!"

After what seemed to be an impossibly long time and yet no time at all the end was in  sight.  And so when we were suitably close we went back to running and ran our way to the finish. (Photos courtesy of Darcie)

As we jogged to the finish there were people cheering for me, my friends, come out to see me accomplish this goal.  It was (is) so easy for me to focus on how much better it could have been, but they were overjoyed on the what was.  Their joy was infectious for me and I ran in feeling that I truly had accomplished something big.

And the time?  58:30.  Under an hour.  Impossibly it seemed I reached my goal that was so daunting in my mind.  I did it, with my sister by my side.
Kristin and I Post-race
Missy and I Post-race

I wish I could say that I finished my Couch to 5k program and RAN my first 5k, but I did accomplish something big this weekend.  It was a 5k, but not a 5k too.  I literally finished the 3.1 miles of the race and met my goal time.  That's true.  But I also accomplished something bigger.  I beat the voice.  You know the voice.  It was the voice who spoke words of fear and doubt in my head.  It was the voice who wanted to compare what I could do to what others could do.  A 5k may not be a challenge for many, it is for me, and I accomplished it.

It is the voice to makes me want to delete these pictures in horror of my weight, but there are here instead on my blog for all to see.  These pictures remind me that the voice speaks out of fear, judgment and criticism of me.  But when I think of this weekend, instead of feeling defeat over what might have been, I think of voices the friends cheering for me crossing that finish line, and the voice of my sister saying "Liz, you ROCK!"

That voice didn't prevail this weekend.  Instead it was the voice of my sister in my ear reminding me constantly that I could.

And I did.

And the voice has lost a little more of its power.

Thank you Kristin.  I love you.


kristine said...

Reading this gave me such a good cry and happy goosebumps. Liz, I'm so happy for you that you did this and that you pushed yourself through it. You will remember this forever and I think it serves as a wonderful example that you can provide for Edward always.
Congratulations a million times over!

beautyredefined said...

Liz - I kept saying you rock because it is unequivocally true. If it hadn't been for you, so many of us wouldn't have had the courage to strap on our running shoes and push ourselves to take that C25K step.

I am so proud of you. You've inspired a lot of bloggers out there to do something better, and you overcame that voice to do it yourself.

::hug:: I love you, too.

(Not gonna lie - go a little teary-eyed reading this!)

darcie said...

I am so so so proud of you! You did so great! We could spend our whole lives comparing ourselves to others & falling short. What a huge accomplishment. Remember when you said you wanted to run a mile? rocked this!

Kate said...

This post is amazing, and the look on your face in those photos reveals the pride and awe of your accomplishment. I'm so pleased you persevered, that your sister came and supported you, that you made your goal time. I can't say it enough..... Liz, you ROCK!!

Becky B said...

I'm so proud of you, Liz! I'm glad it ended up being a positive experience.

Robin Merrill said...

Thank you so much for sharing. You are an inspiration! (Can I borrow your sister?)

Suzi said...

YOU did it, Liz. I am very proud of you! :)

The Marketing Mama said...

Yes, you rock! So, so, so proud of you. I seriously am so impressed that you kept your goal in front of you and didn't give up. You've had a big year. Remember that time when you wanted to give up and I was a total bitch about it? Um, yeah... me too. But I think you forgave me and understood that my goal was to push you to keep going - because I knew you could. And you did.

So... should we do another one? ;)

E. A. Cahill said...

Great post & great job Liz!! You should be super proud of yourself!

Elizabeth said...

Awesome Liz! Great job!

Emma said...

Great post, Liz! I wish I could have been there. I'm glad that your first 5K was a great experience!

fritzfacts said...

I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of you! No matter how hard it was, you pushed through and did it!!

Anti-Supermom said...

Ditto - I'm so proud of you!

I hope you are a million times more proud of yourself.

iamcinnamom said...

You rock! Way to stick with it. :) you are an inspiration.

Soupy said...

WHOO HOO! SO proud of you and I agree, the smile on your face was soooooooo wonderful to see !! YOU DID IT!!

Sharon said...

I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of you. Or how much I love the 'action shot' you and Kristin took of yourselves. You can just see the laughter and sisterly love in that shot.

Jen, a priorfatgirl said...

Oh Dear Liz,

I got teary-eyed reading this entry -- your journey is so amazing. Truly beautiful. I hope forever and ever, you remember that feeling of accomplishment. That feeling of crossing the finish line and knowing you just did something that at one point in your life was so out of reach, you convinced yourself you would never do.

You are amazing -- and a true testament that we can do anything, if we just take it one step at a time.