Sunday, May 08, 2011

Slow and steady...keep the pace...He knows what He is doing

This week has been one of the busiest, longest, hardest weeks I have ever survived. I can't remember the exact moment I started feeling the ground crumbling beneath my feet but the struggle as a whole I will not soon forget.

Was it this week that the wind was so strong I thought the house might move off its footings? I have never in all my 13 years of living here felt the power of the wind like that. I was afraid (read lazy bum) to hang clothes out for fear of a)getting strangled by a sheet and b) having my skivvies land in Father's yard. So I played it safe and did not do laundry at all. I am regretting this today, as I have most other days this week.

Most of it is all sort of one really hazy blur but I do faintly recall a Monday evening turbo kick class that kicked my butt and made me feel muscles I didn't know I had. Which put a major kink in my final week of "training" for my first 5k. My two runs quickly reduced to one painful wet, rainy run on a damp evening. It was less than motivating to say the least.
My accountability partners were what kept me going this week. Dutifully showing up every morning even when I forgot to set the alarm and I was super late and I put my shoes on in the street. Although we had one scare late in the week with an abandoned car that forced us to re-route our normal 3 mile speed walk. I joked that we could be the crime stoppers; we know so much about the soft quiet routine of our little village because of our consistent morning treks that one out of place vehicle makes all our alarms go off.

I am pretty sure there was a day in there that I got some blanket making in with my neighbor. We laid out a few tops for quilts and she even had one finished by the end of the week. We are making recycled fabric squares to sew together for blankets for the Linus project at a local hospital. Maleah came over to help us with color choices because, frankly, my neighbor and I are equal color choice opportunity blanket makers (read; not real fashion conscientious).

There was a lot of planning for the supper club. This time in particular there were some difficult hoops to jump through. I made some phone calls checking prices on some unique ingredients. I ordered some homemade spicy sausage from the local butcher, begged my husband to pick up some printer ink for the food labels and sweet talked my mother into getting the last but most important ingredients. I was trying to get all ends tied up by Thursday night because I had volunteered to ride along for Maleah's field trip on Friday and wouldn't be able to do any supper club prep that day.
My checks finally arrived and I scrambled to pay all the bills that were not-so-patiently waiting for me. Why can't everything just be done online? The kids had practice most evenings so I think we ate supper around 8 every night which is almost 3 hours later than normal for our house. The late meal did not fare well on toddler and child size stomachs making my snack cabinet deplete light years faster than usual. I was down to one gallon of milk by Thursday and managed to ration that out until Sunday, but not without much trials and tribulations. Did you know that there is more to breakfast than cereal?
Thursday night we put most of the finishing touches on the supper club event but even with all my planning, Friday morning began with me (at the wee hours of 5am) putting 50+ pounds of raw pork into roasters at the church. I prayed my husband would remember to check them even though I had a commandeered a reliable neighbor as a backup plan.
I was trying to recall the amount of sleep I had gotten while riding on a school bus with 40 children to the end of the year field trip and all I could really come up with was not nearly enough. My head was pounding and I was recalling how much I (read sarcasm) adored my bus rides as an elementary student. The field trip actually turned out to be an amazing day. The kids had a blast touring the theatre department and getting fake scars on their faces and some new dance moves and a tour. They ended the day with a quick ice cream stop to Cold Stone where I treated my self to a scoop of coffee flavored cream with fudge sauce.

Friday night was as smooth as a baby's bottom. The meals went together with a lot of effort but amazing results. A few kinks were ironed out quickly and pretty painlessly. Honestly I can't remember much of it as I was running on empty until I stuffed myself with turkey meatballs in Marsala mushroom sauce with roasted carrots, beans and asparagus and some chewy bread. After that I was so full I just went through the motions. At the end of the night a very kind friend backed her pickup full of my junk up to my house so I could avoid the dreaded 18 trips across the street to my house.
I noticed the smelly brown liquid only moments after lifting my heavy basket full of meals. Sniff, sniff...it was the bourbon. The bourbon that I spent phone calls price checking and talking to connoisseurs about whether or not I could "get away" with buying the cheap stuff. It was the bourbon and it was leaking all over.

It all happened so quickly but it feels like I watched it in slow motion. I heard the click of plastic an felt the tension give way on my right hand. Then I was holding the handle as I watched the basket full of 9 meals swing to the left and crash into the wall, fall and violently tumble to the bottom of my carpeted basement. The ice cream bucket full of spicy sausage soup was flung into the family room. The pork ribs with bourbon sauce splattered like blood along the wall and door frame. Other bits and pieces of chicken and cheese and unrecognizable bits of food clouded the entire hall.
The next thing I knew I was on the floor sobbing uncontrollably and my husband was yelling, "ARE YOU OKAY?" I was, but I wasn't. I felt like all my work for the week had been flushed down the toilet in the blink of an eye and the worst part of it was, I still had to clean up the mess. Have you ever tried to clean up 8 cups of spicy sausage soup out of carpet? It is not easy. Especially when you are crying the whole time. I just couldn't stop. I carried buckets of slop to the trash and damp smelly towels into the overflowing laundry room. I poured hot water and disinfectant on the carpet and soaked it up over and over until I felt like I couldn't mop up anymore. I washed my hands, put a cold rag on my swollen eyeballs and crawled into bed.

When the alarm went off the next morning I wished  I had never signed up for the run. My head was pounding, my eyes looked like someone beat me up and I was extremely sleep deprived. I went to the coffee maker first knowing full well my running pants would regret it later.

Maleah grabbed her pillow and blanket to ride in the car with family on the way to the race. She easily dozed off while we met my sister in law and exchanged packets. We donned our new t-shirts and took out our numbers and then I saw the signs. Each participant got a sticker that said, "I am running for..." I looked at my family as they were writing names on each others and I saw my own name over and over. Again, the tears started flowing. Hugs, tears, hugs and not enough room on my paper for all the names I wanted to write and off we went to one of the most amazing events I have ever been to in my ENTIRE life.

Because I endured months of chemotherapy, I was given a survivor shirt which allowed us to obtain the best parking but we were late and I was nervous that all that crying in the parking lot would come back to haunt me. One of the last spots at the far north west end of the parking lot was just waiting there for us. The sea of people was amazing. I really have no words. Standing there in that parking lot being one of many for the same purpose was so wonderfully empowering. I saw several people that I knew. I hugged. I cried. I heard the call for the 5k runners.
We decided as a group to stay together. Our goal was to keep it under 45 minutes as the course was hilly and we were of all ages from 9-36. We started slow but quickly spread out to an even pace that we felt comfortable keeping. The streets were lined with spectators shouting words of encouragement. People were everywhere, on the sidewalks, in the yards, on the corners, in the street. I saw one amazing mom pushing a triple jogging stroller. Every time someone walked by me I read their sticker...for my mom, for my sister, for my friend, for my family...I was moved to tears several times. again. My feet just kept moving. Maleah was fast and slow and she got some leg cramps. I think she needed a little hydration. She became discouraged but she kept on trodding. We stayed in each others sight as we made each turn. I saw friends, gave fives, shook hands kept on moving my feet. I saw Shawn Cable (local news caster) run ahead and snap some photos and then get back in  pace with the t-shirts that matched him. I saw Phil (local weatherman) too, he is kinda short :) My father-in-law was standing on the side lines but I missed him.
We really had no idea how fast we were going we walked for a very short time once on the home stretch while we all caught up to each other. Then, my niece said, "we are almost there" so we ran to the finish line. We had the exact same time. She pushed me until the very last step and it was wonderful to have her support.

After we finished we were a little winded and I had to potty (read I peed my pants) so we all went our own ways and we met at the vehicle a few minutes later. I watched the 10k'ers finish and I saw so many people meet their goal! It was really emotional. I hugged people, some I barely knew.
The weather was fantastic. It was the most beautiful morning. I couldn't help but think that the Lord was pointing the sun right down on Sioux Falls. I KNOW He was there because He made my feet move without me feeling them. He allowed me to soak the whole morning in without pain or frustration or difficulty.
I am so ridiculously blessed. What a truly wonderful end to my week! I know He planned it to go exactly like that.
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