Thursday, June 21, 2012

She Runs With Her Mama (A Guest Post)

Almost 5 years ago, our nanny at the time needed to cut her hours, and I set off on a desperate search for someone who could spend a couple of hours a week with my baby.  Pure fate put me in touch with today's guest blogger.  Although she had a full-time job, it just so happened that she had a couple of mornings available each week.  This girl has since watched my boys grow up, and is always gracious enough to hang with them when I'm in a pinch. (Even though at this point she is well established in her career, is planning a wedding, and may start popping out her own kids at any moment... does that mean it's inappropriate to ask her to babysit?)  Ugh, ok, fine. 

Anyway, I love this chick.  She is funny, smart, and fit.  And with no further ado, here is her inspirational story. (Complete with some super-fab internal dialogue. I love it!) And I promise she had neither a hangover nor a potty mouth in front of my kids.  Or maybe she did... hmmmm, I will now be excusing myself to go check the archived nanny cam footage.

But Mom, I Don’t Wannaaaa.

My mom is crazy.  Crazy in the most insane, fun loving, adventure- seeking -nut way that I still don’t think I can fully appreciate.  She is approaching 55 (Eep! Don’t tell her I told) and in April, we both ran our first half marathon, together.  Let me back this train up and give you the Reader’s Digest version.

It all happened 2 summers ago, while my family and I were strapped to total strangers in a SUPER UNSAFE PLANE  a little weird plane for skydiving.  We were zipping up up up to 15,000 feet.  Ready to throw it all away for a chip thrill – Happy Birthday Mom, thanks for the GREAT idea (enter sarcasm here).  After an amazing and scary trip back down, the FIRST thing my mother says to me is, “Let's run a  half-marathon next!”  Ok sure Mom, just let me take my stomach out of my throat, my fat a$$ off the ground and run some 13.1 miles.   WTF was this woman talking about? She hasn’t run a day in her life- except to the mall. (And I did see her sprint into Nordstrom’s, but only once. Hey – it was the biggest shoe sale of the season!  No judgment there.)

Over the course of the next year, we started training.  We ran our first 5k together, the Sunset Harbor 5k .  I totally crushed her and beat her slow old a$$ by nearly 5 minutes!  But I realized that this wasn’t about me winning for once – I missed my mom!  This was something we wanted to do together, and my selfish, must-win-at-all-times-or-else-I’ll-cry self felt bad.  I vowed to never do that again – she was the reason I was getting into shape anyways!
Our next run, a localTurkey Trot had a little different tune to it.  EXTREMELY hung over from the best party night of the year, (don’t worry health nuts, I was drinking vodka and pineapple! Yay fruit!) We embarked on a hilly 4.4 mile course.  I ran next to my mom the entire time, half to make sure that if I fell over and died, she would notify authorities; and half because she is the best motivator on the planet.   Moving at pace along the track, she kept pushing me, herself, and the others around us to just keep going.  Ok, so this running thing isn’t so hard, we got this.  We finished together, holding hands. 

Feeling extremely high from our kick butt run on Turkey Day AM, and having probably 4 too many glasses of wine, we decided our next running triumph would be the Cherry Blossom 10-miler in Washington Dc.  Ok, now this was getting serious.  As an athlete for the better part of my first 22 years of existence, I can run for 40 minutes no problem.  But 10 miles!? 10 miles!?  And on America’s proudest ground? With super-fast Kenyans? I don’t know about this one Mom.
We trained, hard.  We took this experience very seriously and come race day, we were both a few pounds lighter, tighter, and ready to take on this Race! Boo ya bitches, move over for the Mother-Daughter duo from New York!  We’re here and ready to kick some ass!  And then, we walked into the Expo the day before and our dreams of winning this 22,000 person race were shattered. People Experienced, professional, and BETTER trained runners, were all around us.  OMG, Bill ___, the guy who won the Boston Marathon, twice, was to our left!! A flock of Kenyan’s to our right – hell they looked fast just STANDING there.   Oh man, we are out of our league.  Shit, can we go home?
My mother, being the motivator that she is, gave us a great pep talk to night before.  We worked hard and deserved to be there.  We were going to run our pace, stay focused, and run this thing the best way we knew how- together.  And together we did.  A relatively flat race, coming around the last ½ mile was a massive hill.  Well played DC organizers, well played.  My mother looked ready to collapse; I could see the finish line ahead and was feeling strong. Supportive spectators cheered us on. And she stopped.  My mother flat out stopped not 80 feet from the finish line.  OH HELL NO.  I grabbed her hand and literally dragged her across the finish line.  We did it, and we did it together – again.   Are we done yet?
About 2 months later, my mother (who must have been suffering from temporary amnesia), suggested we run the Central Park Half Marathon.  13.1 miles. 3.1 more miles that what we had just accomplished, on a very hilly course.  All women, in my favorite city and park in the entire world.  Ok, lets do it.
Fast forward to April 2012.  Donna had been training like a mad woman, running great distances and hills with ease.  I did yoga. And drank beer.  My procrastination had definitely gotten the best of me.  I made a secret plan to ditch out of the race 4 miles in, hang out at a bar, and meet my mom at the finish line.  Yes, the woman who forced me to jump out of a plane, get a tattoo, and scuba dive with freaking sharks.  Ok, better look to plan B - actually running?  Oye. 
The first 5 miles were ok, great people and scenery to take it- catching up with old mom while going for a nice stroll- awesome, I got this.  Around the 8th mile and 110th Street my greatest fear came to fruition- a mountain the size of Kilamanjaro in the middle of Central Park.  Who the F put this here???  We slowed down to our “survival shuffle pace” and with each other’s support, got to the top and to the 9 mile marker.  Ok, I can do this -almost there.  Around mile 10, I looked at my mom with a huge smile on my face, thinking back to how far we’d come and exclaimed, “Mom, we got this! A measly 5k left!”  With that, I was ready to finish strong and so was she – too bad my legs were not.
Having not trained, seriously, like at all, my legs betrayed me and felt like 608 pound bricks.  My breath was ok, but my legs could not move.  I looked to my mom, so proud to be almost done with this challenging battle for which she had worked so hard, and here I was about to crush all of that for her.  I know my mom, and had I stopped, she would have stopped too, which would have killed her. She worked so hard and my lazy ass would be the reason she wouldn’t finish within her goal.  I dug deep. Real deep. Like the time she bought me that Barbie Mansion, sent me to super expensive cool summer camp I wanted to go to, the care packages in college, and taking an entire weekend to help me paint my apartment in July with no air conditioning deep, and found something inside me to push for her.  And that I did.

As we came around the .1 mile to the finish line, my mom grabbed my hand and we crossed, again, together.  I’ve never been so proud of her.  She was glowing.  This 55- year- old woman who used to smoke 2 packs a day killed it.  Changing her lifestyle changed both of our lives and I couldn’t be more proud to have an overly ambitious mother on my team.  Running with someone who makes you WANT to run is the only way to do it.  We live 5 hours from each other –but every time we visit, we always find a race or a park to run in.  It has become our new way to bond.  I love my mom and am so proud- for the both of us!

PS- we are signed up for the Flower City half in September! YAY!


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