Friday, February 28, 2014

2013 Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5k

I have taken a break from blogging, once again. Over the past few months, I have been dealing with some nagging injuries and I have been hardly running at all. The holiday season is always extremely busy for our family. Thanksgiving, Eli's birthday, Christmas, New Year's, and Coy's birthday are all bunched together during the winter months. So it was a great time to be with the family and let my body heal a little.

In November I decided to cut back on my running because I was having a lot of pain in my right side. The doctor thought it was probably scar tissue from my appendectomy last summer. After taking a few weeks to give my side a break, I started back up running but was soon sidelined again with foot pain. After a little research online, I self diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis. So I decided that after I ran in the Peaks of Otter Christmas Classic 5k in Bedford on December 7th, I was going to take some more weeks off to let my foot heal.

There was no way I was going to miss this 5k in Bedford. This was going to be the third straight year I would run this race. But the main reason that I was anticipating this race was because I would be running it with my father. Over the previous few months, my dad had started running around the loop in Bedford. I remember the first few times I passed dad running, on my way home from work. It made me very proud of my dad to get out there and get some exercise. I think after his retirement, he had some extra energy to burn. During the fall months, I started bugging dad to sign up for the 5k in Bedford, since it was going to be about the same route he was running during his normal runs.

My father wasn't the only family member taking part in the running that cold December morning. Eli was going to be running his first 1 mile race and Coy was going to take part in the kids' ¼ mile race. I love how my boys get so excited to run in races. They are so cute when they so happy about having their own bib numbers to put on their shirts. I couldn't wait to race day, so that I could see three generations of Stevens' boys running down the streets of Bedford!

First we had to make it to the race. If anyone knows our family, you know that we are not the most punctual group. I usually blame it on having little kids, but it is probably more Anna and my fault. It wasn’t until we were in the car, heading to Bedford, that I realized how late we were running. We had about 15 minutes before the start of the race and since we live about 10 miles from Bedford, I knew it was going to be close. Since parking is limited at the middle school, I had Anna just drop me off and I would run use the short run to the starting line as my warm up.

I made to the starting area with just enough time to find my dad. He was already lined up and ready to go. It was really awesome to see him out there. Not only did I see my father, but my cousin Jennifer was also lining up to run. She was also going to push her 2 year old in a stroller. This was going to be a family event. We only had few minutes to talk before we were running.

Once we were running down Peaks Street, dad started telling me to go ahead and leave him behind. He didn’t want to slow me down. It was great to run with my father by my side. There was no way I was going to run ahead. I didn’t really need to leave him behind anyway, he was moving at a pretty good pace. The weeks leading up to the race, I had been dealing with a couple different injuries. I had already decided that after this race, I was going to take some time off from running to let my body heal some. So I was not trying to break any personal records during this 5k.

By the time we made it to Witfield Drive, we had found a comfortable pace. Now we just needed to maintain this pace until we got to the base of the dreaded hospital hill. Jennifer was also holding strong. She was keeping pace with us, even while pushing her stroller. I always try to break down difficult activities into smaller, more manageable tasks. So while running up a long hill like the one on Whitfield, I like to break it down into smaller sections. First, you just have to make it to the gate to the field on the right side of the road. Once you make it to that point, you set your sights on the fire hydrant. Next goal is the speed limit sign, followed by the intersection with Newton Circle. By this time your legs are usually burning so bad, that really just want to get to Oakwood Avenue.

I think one of the more difficult things about the hill section of this 5k, is that you will have another 1 ½ miles to the finish. You legs are really spent by the time you get up to the top of the hill. Dad and I took some time to slow our pace and let our legs loosen up some after the hill. By the time we got to Longwood Avenue, we were ready to make the final push. We made it back to the middle school in no time. I can’t tell you how proud I was to come down the final home stretch running in stride with my father. I was honored to take part in my dad’s first 5k, he did great!

Soon after the end of the 5k, the kids were lined up to run the ¼ mile race. Coy was taking part in this race around the front parking lots of the middle school. As we lined up, so seem a little apprehensive about the race. He tends to be shy around people he doesn’t know and since we were surrounded by strangers, he was not quite his usual wild self. Coy told us that he wanted Papa to run with him too. So we started the race with me holding his one hand and his Papa holding his other hand.

We made our way around the sidewalk on the front side of the school when I saw the bigger kids’ race starting. Eli was running in the 1 mile race for the older kids. His race’s path was down the Longwood Avenue’s sidewalk. It was a ½ mile down and back route that ended back at the school. Since they had opened Longwood back up for car traffic, I didn’t want Eli running by himself down the sidewalk. So I made sure Coy was okay with me leaving him with dad to finish his race. Then I sprinted to catch up with Eli. Anna had run a short distance with Eli, so he was not alone when I got to him. Both Eli and Coy did incredible jobs in their runs.

I couldn’t be more proud on this chilly December morning. I got to run with my father while he experienced his first 5k. Then I got to run with each of my son’s in races of their own. I have been blessed with such wonderful parents. I know no one can choose their own parents, but I would not trade mine for anything. Eli and Coy didn’t get to pick their father either, but I sure glad God has let me be a part of their life. Life is never easy and there are always going to be obstacles in my way, but with the all the loving people in my life I know I can make it through anything!

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