Last Wednesday before I got the call about my father in law I had been on the radio. Upon the insistence of my oldest son I called in for a daily game show called "He said, She said". I told him that I "never" get through for these radio contests. To amuse him I called and the phone just rang and rang and rang. I was about to hang up myself when they answered. My day was already looking very bright, cheery & good to begin with then I actually won the contest as well. (I had squared off against a male contestant and answered more questions right). My prize was the latest CD release from Matt Redman's 10,000 Reasons.
Rewind to a few days earlier, Jim & I were in the van and heard the title song on the radio. We are familiar with this song, we hear it all the time. As we often do in the van, or home or wherever, we belted the song out and let the song move & speak to us. When the song finished Jim told me "you know, we should buy that song". Actually, I told him, we already own the song. I bought the single a few weeks earlier off of iTunes. Now, we own the whole CD that has many other great songs on it.
The song and those events seem to have nothing to do with the death of my father in law. They seem like such a small details, but I'm sure God had them worked into our lives knowing what was about to happen when our lives got turned upside down a few hours later. Haha, if anything, it gave me a good post title for today : )
Anyway....I was planning on running the Watermelon Stampede on Saturday. This race has been going on for 35 years in my hometown of Muscatine, IA. All you have to say is Muscatine and I am there in a heart beat, if my life allows it. I may have moved away 18 years ago, but I am very loyal and tied to this place. The race offers a 5k & 10k option. I have always raced the 5k option. I have actually never raced a 10k....ever. The last few years have brought on the longer distances for me and this has changed my whole 5k outlook. Not to mention this race is always the week after Howl at the Moon & I'm usually still recovering from running an ultra. Basically this 5k has always been slower and not as fun.
I decided to wait a few days after Howl to even see how I was going to feel. No sense even running if I was having a tough recovery from Howl. Once I realized that I could run, I decided to run the 10k race. My 1st 10k ever. I need that extra distance to really get going in a race. I distinctly remember last year I really struggled in the 5k. I remember at mile 2.5 I was finally warmed up & raring to go. By then the race was practically done and yet I was just getting started.
Of course with the events of my father in law & my grandma too (Didn't post about that on here, but did on facebook. In a nutshell she was rushed to hospital for an emergency procedure on her heart & lungs. She's old and fragile, it would not completely shock me if something happened & she passed too). I was still wondering if I was really going to race. I weighed the pros and cons back & forth many, many times. I don't think it was until I got in the car on Saturday morning that I was like "YES, I'M DOING THIS!"
The drive over was a little tough. I battled over thoughts if I should really be racing. I know my father in law would not want us to stop living our lives. But I feel I should be in some complete state of mourning. Not frolicking around at a race & having a great time like nothing is going on. I feel like a liar or faker when I post about being in shock, about having emotional break downs (yep, I've had a few) yet carrying on with regular life. I guess it goes to show that what you may see on the outside is no indication of what is going on the inside with someone. Almost all of my real, close friends know immediately that something is wrong with me. I may smile, I may laugh, but my usual shine is lacking. People who don't really know me may think I'm being snobby or witchy or not so friendly. Anyway (sorry, got off on a tangent), the ride over was rough & emotional. Almost anytime I am alone I really struggle. It gives me too much time to think, to reminisce, to ponder, to wonder.
I was even deeply taken in by the sun rising. I stopped along the way to snap these shots.
Of course I'm a sentimental emotional fool any given day of my life. With these recent events I'm stopping even more to just take in a moment. One thing I have said frequently the last few days is "I thought we had time". We had not seen my father in law in 6 years. He never met (baby) Carmen in person. It was not extremely unusual for us to go years in between visits. In my 18 years with Jim we visited with his dad 5 times. He came to Illinois 3 times to visit us here and we took 2 trips out to California to see him. These past 6 years was the longest span of time we had gone without seeing him. Of course....we thought we had time. I was recently thinking about flying Jim's dad out here for Angel's graduation in a couple of years. His oldest grandchild....of course he'd want to come for that. We thought we had plenty of time to do so much & now our chance is forever gone.
Ok....ok....bear with me, I keep going off of little sentimental trails. Work with me here.
I got to the race with all my tears in check and race day excitement took over. Really, for the most part, nobody knew what I was going through anyway. The few that did welcomed me with hugs and being an emotional touchy feely person I appreciated that.
I was milling around waiting for the beginning of the race when I noticed a Team Tough Chik running singlet walk past me. I paused for a second thinking if I knew of anyone in this area that I knew to be a TTC member. In the mean time I chased this person down and gave her a holler. Turns out that this team mate doesn't even live in this area at all. She was just traveling through and came up on this race in her quest to run races in all 50 states. TTC has become a wonderful group of women that offer great running/racing support and getting to meet them in person is always an extra added bonus. It was great to meet you Erica! I'm so glad our paths crossed.
Right before the race started the director, the infamous & wonderful Del Wagner (pictured below), stood atop his usual pre race perch to give instructions about the race.
He also gave a speech about honoring & remembering those that we have lost this past year. I seriously thought I was going to lose it at that moment. Del, as far as I know, has never given that speech before & I don't think he knows about my personal loss currently going on right now. He had us pause for a moment of silence. I closed my eyes, felt the gentle breeze coming off the Mississippi River, took some deep breaths (to keep from crying) and just thought of Jim's dad. He would be proud of me & I know he would be supportive of me being there for this race.
Once we got past that moment the race was off with a bang. I wasn't sure what to expect since it was my first 10k. I could do the basic math of if I normally run a 5k in 21-22 minutes then I should be able to run a 10k in 42-44 minutes. I was also trying to take into account my slowing down of pace lately and recovering from 45.77 miles the week before. I tried to run the race with a easy beginning, a solid middle and a fast finish. I think I accomplished that. Although I'm not good a pushing myself too terribly much. I'm sure, actually I know, I can go faster and harder with my pace, but often don't out of fear of losing control and failing. I'm sure another post is needed to analyze & break down my pace issues & performances.
I concluded that I should be able to finish easily within in 45 minute range. 45 is just what I saw on the clock when I came over the horizon & was about 200 yards from the finish. I pushed it in and finished with a 45:46 time. Not bad for a slowing down, would rather prefer a much longer distance gal. I was the 4th female overall and placed 1st in my age group. Not too shabby for my 1st 10k. I guess I can even say that is a 10k PR for me : )
It was a great race & it's always wonderful to be surrounded by my Muscatine Running Friends (some of them pictured below)
After the race was done & I visited with my parents for awhile I went & saw my Grandma in the hospital. My Grandma is one amazing woman! I remember posting about her last fall here when my cousin died. She has lived a long, wonderful, yet filled with grief life. In the things we have learned this past week I didn't want to pass up a chance to visit her, hug her & tell her how much I love her. Life is too short & we never have enough time!!!!