We were neck and neck the whole race. I felt awesome, running in my cool Orange and Black Beaver colored Brook racers in Yellow and Green Duck country...but it is always so intimidating to cross over into Duck territory and run against these folks. Running was invented in Eugene, Oregon afterall, back in the 70s when Bowerman created a legacy in the U of O track team sparking a running epidemic that swept the country. It's where Nike began!!
Truly I love doing these races because it is just a small part of what keeps me connected to another facet of who I am - I am not just a mom or a wife but I am also my own person with my own interests. The fam loves to see their mommy "going for it" as it helps give me my own persona. We all support each other in our different interests - ballet, soccer, running, mountain biking, piano, guitar, photography - whatever it is, in our fam you have a built in cheering section! My father-in-law, mother-in-law, family friend, husband, and 2 kids rounded out my fan club for the race.
As I ran this race this morning, many thoughts swam through the 'ole mind. At the mile mark when I clocked a 6:22 and was the front runner for the women I was definitely worried. Had I started too fast? Adrenaline can work for the first mile, but what counts is how you are doing at the finisth line and adrenaline won't get you through a full 5K! But God intervened there and put my mind back on the right track. I spent the next 1/2 mile just praising Him for bringing my body back from what felt like death in 06/07....I felt awesome. Light, fast, and strong. Feelings I haven't felt in some time. Of course, at that point I calculated that I was still the front runner for the women.
I remember in Jan '07 when the blood tests came back and I got the phone call from the doc: "You have the Epstein Barr Virus or what's also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As well, you have fibromyalgea and Type II diabetes (caused from a bad reaction to an antibiotic). There's really nothing we can do except advise you to take it easy." I felt like I'd been hit in the stomach...I felt defeated...I felt myself mourning the person that had in effect just died and been replaced with this new EBV person.
But God grabbed me by the heart, shook me up, and basically said, "Everybody dies, but not everyone LIVES! Do you want to let yourself be defeated or will you walk in faith that I can heal you and that unlike many folks out there, you will beat this? You have a choice: either hang your head low and live out EBV forever or hold your head up high and look to me."
(Playing on the playlist is Superchick's rock version of the very conversation God Has with me in '07 - Everybody dies but not everybody lives. Super fun, go live life to it's fullest kind of song!)
So after a few days of mourning, I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and grabbed a hold of LIFE. I kept running. I started eating well. I started living a lifestyle that would detox me and give my system a fighting chance to put this nasty virus into remission.
I also decided to keep smiling.
So, fast forward to today. I seriously ran praising Him. Thank you God for restoring to me athleticism, energy, vitality, and vigor. I give you all the glory!! I don't know if I'll win, but I do know that I feel strong again!
The whole run was lined with spectators cheering. I heard every other second, "you two are the front liners...first women! YOU CAN do it!! " I also knew the champion women from last year, local highschool cross country coach, was right on our heels too.
The gal that had been running on my heels passed me after the second mile but I hung on to her heels during that mile . We ran hard. I knew the last 1/4 mile was after the last turn and it was a straight shot into the finish line, but it was up hill.
I come representing Central Oregon! I come as a Beaver! I come representing moms everywhere that you CAN still get out and do it! I come representing all folks battling a chronic condition - that there's hope!! I come representing God's healing hand!
Before turning the corner for that last hill I naturally overtook her. But, the finish line was still not in sight and she was right on my heels. As soon as I hit the bottom of the hill I picked it up but I still couldn't see the finish line. I told myself that when I do, I was going to sprint like there's no tomorrow and give it everything I had. As the finish line came into view, I kicked it up.
Seriously the crowd was going nuts which told me she was close. I heard the announcer over the speakers saying, "Folks we have a close one here for the 5k women's champion." Then I saw my Rennaissance Man and he was NOT taking pictures - he was screaming at me..."She's on your tail!"
I ran as hard as I have ever run...and entered that finish line in first place with a PR of 21:09. So I ran a sub-7 minute mile average pace!
I caught my breath and immeditately a radio DJ ran up to me and said he was going to interview me live in the show - it's kind of a bummer that 2nd place doesn't get any attention at all.
Turns out, that "woman" was 18. Feels good to beat an 18 year old gal who trains with her track team daily when you are 34! But it feels even better to just feel so awesome again!
Me being interviewed by a DJ airing the show live on the radio: