Thursday, June 12, 2008

Run for your Life...or Pancakes

As my ramas and I are trying to live peacefully with one another, I've been doing my best to be a sidelined runner. (Can you still be a runner, if you can't run?...Please say yes, so I can put my identity crisis to rest.)
A couple weekends ago, we endured an early morning hail storm to support my family as they all participated in the East Meets West Runs and Walks.

The whole event was postponed as a thunderstorm passed over the city. Once the all clear was given, the 5K runners lined up and awaited the gun. As Kenton, Judah, and I walked over to watch my Dad race, small chunks of ice started plunking the river. We headed for the trees as all the runners ducked under the bridge. Judah found the whole storm exciting and was rushing to pick up all the hail stones he could, despite his parent's warnings.

By and by the storm passed, officially, and the days events were off and running.

My Dad was nursing a soreness and only managed a third place finish.

My Mom walked with her friends as we shouted and assured them that, "You're ALL winners!"

Finally it was time for the big show. My Judah has a strange relationship with running. He loves the idea of being entered into races. However, once the gun fires his attitude is unpredictable. After Kenton escorted a screaming 4 year old through the one mile race course in March, (under the principle that, "you finish what you start") he politely let me know that I would be taking over Judah's running expeditions from now on. I understood his position and gladly accepted the challenge.

After a successful race at the River Run, I felt we had a good chance of Judah performing well for the East Meets West Kids 1K.

His previous performance was one indicator, but the fact that pancakes were to be served to all runners was a deal sealer in my mind. The days leading up to the race Judah referred to the "pancake run" fondly. I think I know what motivates a Hansen man. Pride? Accomplishment? Victory? Nah!!!! PANCAKES!!!!!

Judah peeled off his "warm-ups" and revealed his beloved sponsor on his shirt. Mr. Randy had a lot riding on this race!

The time had arrived and the lead bike was in position. Judah was in a really good mood and I was glad to see him excited. With the sound of the air-horn he was off. I was surprised that he had such speed and I started to worry that I might get hurt trying to keep up with him. He asked me to hold his hand, because he thinks that helps him. He rounded the first corner and saw my Mom. He thought he was done and ran into her arms. Once he realized he had more to go he smooched her and kept going. We passed the brigade of kids who ran out of breath, ones who were crying because it was too hard, and others exclaiming "I've gotta walk." Judah just looked at them and kept going. At one point he huffed, "Mom-mee, I want to walk." I said, "Okay, but we're almost there." He looked over and saw a kid probably three years older than him stopping to walk and Judah produced a look that made me know he was my son. He bared down on his little lips and pulled his bony elbows back up and picked it up. He rounded his last corner to the voice of another parent saying, "Look at that little guy, he's much younger than you."

Once he saw the finish line he was ready to bring it in. A few duckies in the river distracted him for a second, but when he heard the cheers of his Daddy, Mr. Randy, and Nee Nee, he headed for home.

While the satisfaction of a hard job well done would be enough for me, my son is part his Daddy too. He slapped hands and smiled, but the first comment out of his mouth was, "Where are my pancakes?" Hey, I can't protest. We said if you run, you get pancakes. He kept up his end of the deal.

So We all enjoyed a nice morning over pancakes and "cereal-up."

Knowing that finishing was all we could want from Judah we weren't too surprised when his name wasn't called during the awards ceremony. We all were just so proud that he did his very best and gave his all.

About a week later the results were posted online and I noticed Judah's entry was labeled "F" for female. I thought that was weird, but realized it didn't matter. I looked to see how he fared with the other boys his age and noticed his time of 6:28 was 20 seconds faster than the 5 year old who received third place. Judah had finished third and the registration screwed up by marking him female. After a quick email, the organizers we very eager to correct their mistake.

So, yesterday afternoon Judah was presented with his very first medal. Not a participation medal but a bonafide, "you earned it," medal.

I was so proud of him. I even get teary eyed just knowing how hard his little feet worked. Knowing that he wanted to quit but he didn't. Knowing that he was a little scared to even start. Or knowing that his little body was done but he reached down inside himself and found a little more to give.

I couldn't have ever asked for anything more from him. I imagined into the future what this victory could unleash. What a gift a shared passion with my son could be.

But most of all what a blessing to be his support to pull him through when he thought he was unable to keep going. As he asked to hold my hand to help him, I realized how I hope he knows I'll be there to grab his hand as long as he'll let me.

When I told him he had placed I said, "Did you know this means you have something special that makes you run fast."
He replied, "Yeah, I know...pancakes."

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