Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because of Him

I run slightly ahead of Stephen and our son Baden, their laughter still ringing through the quiet Kennedale Ravine from the imagery I left in their minds. I had explained to Baden that some master yogis apparently are able to meditate so effectively that they do not feel the cold as they sit crossed-legged up on snowy mountain summits in their underwear. I'm not sure what those pant things are called. The imagery of wise old men in their underwear must have tickled Baden's funny bone because he was still laughing about it a few minutes later, his complaints of "runner's gut" forgotten for a while. It's that feeling that all newbie or out of shape runners feel when their stomach has been shaken up and down for a few kilometres. Although my son has a lot of heart, the fact that he really hasn't done much running all winter can't be ignored. Father and son are training for a 10 km night run called Storm the Fort this weekend.

The all too familiar sound of our running shoes crunching on old snow is really getting tiresome but Baden feels confident in his new shoes from Fast Trax. If there is ever a best place to buy shoes, it's there. The small shop with the huge reputation known all across western Canada has the best knowledgeable staff you could ever ask for! Every staff member lives the vision of owner Jack Cook in serving their customers until they are more than completely satisfied. A staff member spent over 45 minutes with my 11 year old son, treating him like a fellow runner, helping him chose from over a dozen pair of shoes until Baden was beaming from ear to ear in his final purchase.

 There are little pillows of snow on top of the pine boughs and the sky is the same colour as the ground; a uniform egg shell tint. It would be very pretty if not for the fact that according to the calendar, Spring arrived several weeks ago. Maybe Mother Nature didn't get the memo?! After last week's disastrous run, I spent a lot of time thinking this past week, in between studying for final exams. It has been a very long and tough semester, not just with school but with lots of other challenges coming our way. A family friend teases us saying we don't have enough trials in our lives, we add our own set through our running! I do find it annoying that even though I did say I was quitting last week, there is a fighting spirit deep within that will not let me be! 

Seeing my son courageously running alongside his overachieving parents inspires me so deeply! He does not find anything wrong with the idea that he is only running a tenth of what we are training for. That boy seems to have no fear when it comes to running! It is obvious to see his sense of entitlement as a fellow athlete and I am so proud of his courage and uninhibited vision! The reaction we get most often when we explain our goal to people is an instant declaration of their inability to run even a few kilometres! It's as if we are immediately placed on a pedestal so high that no one can touch us. It creates such a feeling of isolation! Can't we still be friends even though running may not be the commonality that connects us?! I used to be one of those people, not being able to comprehend why anyone would possibly want to put themselves through that? Why? 

How did I get from there to here? Because of love. Because I wanted to share in my husband's world, I wanted to get to know him, to understand what made him tick, what drove his passions. My first official 15 km just about killed me! That is what I absolutely love about the running community-- whether it is the first step of your running career or the last step across the finish line, there is always that sense of camaraderie, that understanding that we have been there too, that willingness to share your pain and your triumphs, your setbacks and your comebacks. 

Last week, I had lost sight of that vision. I had forgotten where my true strength lies. I had forgotten to laugh, to have fun even through "runner's gut" or any other physical trial. I had forgotten the bigger picture, I had forgotten who I was doing this for. As I open my eyes and more especially my heart, I tie my laces a little more tightly, I run with a stronger dose of determination, I squeeze my husband's hand a little more firmly and I look to God and live! Let me show you those moments that bring me inspiration...

 My hubby will always be the keeper of my heart and my dreams!

 My son, the little runner with the huge heart!

 The husband and wife team from Winnipeg who inspired the theme of our fundraiser! They are even more inspiring in person! And so dynamic on stage! :D

 And ultimately Because of Him, I have been given a second chance... or fifth or sixth....

I don't think running for me will ever be easy but I am a fighter! And I have the example of my brothers to thank for. They never stopped fighting until their last breath! They ran countless ultras back to back to back. I only have to run a 100 miles. So here's to you, Lehi and Mathoni; Shadamehr and Cedric, Nich and Benson, and all those families for whom I am running for. You inspire me! You are part of my strength.

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