Saturday morning I woke up and headed out for my first run back with the 13.1 group I’m “pacing” at Fleet Feet. As a pacer I run with my designated group (usually slower than 11:30 pace) and encourage them to meet their distance goal for the day. I love it because I feel like it’s my way to pay back the running community for all it’s done for me. So, starting out Saturday getting back to it? Was perfect. I did 13 miles that morning and felt great.
Then – it was time for E and I to do the Warrior Dash. Donnie never signed up because he didn’t want to risk injury so close to his big race, but E had so much fun just watching us last year, that he didn’t even hesitate before signing up.
And let me tell you: SO MUCH FUN. We ran/walked in a group with some friends and my boot camp coach and we just laughed the entire time. It was messy already because it was rainy and cold, but once we got out there? We just had a ball. We high-fived after every obstacle and celebrated the messes. And when we got to the “swimming” portion, E got to see what it looks like when his Mom has a panic attack. And he got to momentarily envision having to save her life.
But I made it (I really did almost die by having a panic attack in water I could touch in) and we had a ball. Seriously. I can’t put into words how amazing it was. And I’m super-thrilled I had friends at the finish-line who took these amazing pictures. I had friends from boot camp there and friends from my running group. It was AMAZING. Some of my favorite people in the world getting messy and wet and being part of one of the best days of my parenting life.
And then it was time for Sunday’s adventure. Donnie’s first ever half-Ironman! (Disclaimer: It is NOT the brand “Ironman” – but it is the DISTANCE. So, same challenge, smaller price, smaller race.) We planned to send the kids to Donnie’s brother’s house so that I could just be there for him and not stress about the kids. BEST DECISION EVER.
While the water temp was actually 69 that morning, the air temp was 48 so everyone still wore their wetsuits. (It was already deemed a “Wetsuit Legal” race before that day due to the time of year.) Now, since the water temp was higher it wasn’t mandatory to wear one, but everyone did anyway. Which added an interesting element to the race as a participant and a spectator.
This was Donnie’s first wetsuit race but he got some really good body glide type stuff to grease up with before he put on his wetsuit so when he had to rip it off himself before getting on the bike? It came off NO PROBLEM.
But because the air was SO COLD I was stressing out over the fact that he headed out for 56 miles on the bike, being wet from a swim, wearing very little clothing. When he came back through for the run he hollered at me, “I CAN’T FEEL MY FEET!”
He had a “dream” goal time for the race and he rounded the corner to the finish-line around that dream time so I had a FREAKIN’ MELTDOWN. I started screaming bloody murder. I was SO EXCITED. He crossed the finish-line to me screaming like a maniac and I hunted him down and hugged him tighter than anything else. And a friend caught a photo of that hug (in the mosaic above) and I look at that picture and think, “That is what I look like when I’m bursting with pride.”
He trained SO HARD this summer, and was so diligent about everything, but sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes you just have a shitty race day. And that is something I’ve seen him suffer through time and time again. AND IT’S SO HARD. I was hoping more than anything that he would end that race PROUD of all of the hard work because my heart couldn’t handle the disappointment if he had a bad race day.
He had a BRILLIANT race day. Better than he had ever dreamed. He looked great and he met every goal he wishfully set for himself.
It was just SUCH a good weekend. Running a fabulous race with my oldest child and watching my husband run his best-possible half-Ironman. It was just as close to perfect as possible.
I went to bed Sunday night honestly feeling like the luckiest woman in the world. No matter how many holes in my heart of dreams and people lost, I still feel like I am blessed beyond anything I deserve. I’ve got amazing family and friends and a life that brings me so much joy that even the darkest days have an easy-to-find silver lining.