Monday, March 18, 2013

Our first 5 k race!

On Saturday, my family (except little Eva) ran a 5 k Saint Patty's day race at Challenger Ridge Vineyards in Concrete. The boys showed up jazzed and ready to have fun, but I was sick to my stomach with nervousness and anxiety, since I have never ran a 5 k race before. I used to compete at 100 meter sprints, but that was almost 25 years ago. That's a quarter of a decade! And this race was 3.1 miles of running with some serious, professional-looking runners, decked out in expensive running gear. Us Sahlin's showed up in hillbilly hand knit hats and fleeces.

We are still laughing... The race hasn't started yet.
Ever so helpful, Steve lets me stretch my nervous legs on his back.
My goal for this race was to finish it, and not to walk, but run, if humanly possible. The plan was to start nice and easy, so we wouldn't burn out, with Kai and Lukas by my side. However, many of the runners shot out the starting line like torpedos (including my husband Steve), and I got confused on how fast I should run in this herd. It doesn't help that I am terribly competitive. I knew from the start that I was in trouble, because I hated seeing people in front of me, and I loathed hearing people behind me. As I tried to match my steps to my breathing, the only rhythm I could discern in my head was the thought of “shit, shit, shit”. After three quarters of a mile, instead of “shit, shit, shit” being the only thought in my head, it was now joined by “This race was such a bad idea”.

After a mile, a girl about 12 years old passed us. I felt Kai bristling a few steps ahead of me. He was like a race horse, not wanting to be beaten by a –gasp– girl. So I told him to go ahead and take off, and he did. He left me, as usual, in the proverbial dust.
Just before the turnaround point of 1.5 mile, I managed to relax. I started smiling and waving at the people who already turned around, or at people who I passed. It was a fascinating character study. Some people returned my smiles and clearly were having fun, while some wouldn't even react to me, or blatantly ignored me. Are we having fun yet?
After about two miles, Lukas asked if he could pull ahead. I let him. It was wonderful to watch him blast ahead of me and pass several adults. The last three quarters of a mile were very hard! All I wanted to do was walk, but I didn't allow myself to do it. I really wanted to finish this race strong, and I managed to sprint the last 100 yards, to the cheering and applause of my boys.
And here is the miracle of it: I finished in 27 minutes, which is a pretty good time for a beginner. Steve finished in 22 minutes, Kai in 24, and Lukas in 26.

Steve finishes.
Kai finishes next.
Way to kick a heart aneurysm's ass, Lukas!
And here Mama hobbles in.

We couldn't have done this without our dear friend Andrea and her daughter Vija (Eva's best friend).  Andrea took care of Eva and waited with the two little girls at the finish line, waving cheerleading pompoms and taking pictures. We look happy, albeit tired, yes?

If Lukas and I look like we want to throw up, it's probably because we wanted to throw up.
My little cheerleader!

Are we proud?  Hell yes!  Are my knees hurting?  Oh yeah.  Will we do it again?  You bet!

After our run, we went for a walk with Andrea and Vija, just to cool down, and just to spend a little bit more time with our precious friends.

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