Friday, October 30, 2009

Go the Distance

Chet and Faith joined the running club at school. This is big news for Chet. After all these years, here is a competitive sport that requires strength, training, discipline, and a will to give it all, a
and he can actually participate. Faith has been planning on joining the track team as soon as she is old enough. Having this chance to be part of this cross-country club was a golden opportunity for her. Over the last few weeks, they and their team have been training when the weather has relented enough to allow them to do so. They thought they were ready for their first meet.

On Wednesday, we drove to Rogers where a bunch of other middle schoolers were ready to compete in this meet. Most of them train everyday. The majority of them were teams in uniforms. Their parents had signs with their schools and teams on them. They warmed up with well-polished drills. I knew that with only a few actual practices under their belts that our kids weren't going to win. Yet I couldn't wait to see what they would do.

At last all the kids were directed to line up, mark, set, and go!

Tyler set out to win this race. He sped past the other runners, and for a while held a first place position. But cross-country meets aren't won by sprinters. All of our kids need to learn to pace themselves and build some endurance. Tyler's take-off dash to the front was impressive to see, though!

There were two laps in the run, totalling 1.5 miles. Chet had me worried as he came around the first lap. I could hear him breathing, his face was flushed and pale at the same time, and he kept stopping to walk. He told me later he wanted to pass out at this point. All the other parents were on the sidelines cheering their kids on and urging them to speed. My mama bear came out and I could be heard hollering, "Are you okay???" Besides, his legs were blinding me.

Faith made it around the second part of the run before she started the final lap, and thought she was done. I was trying to encourage her. I said, "Good job, Faith! You're almost there! (she thought I meant "almost to the finish line") You only have one more lap to go!" At this point she looked at me and said, "whaaaat?" as best she could muster.

She buckled back down, though, and pressed onward. Along with pacing, we need to work on some breathing techniques. I am pretty sure they are supposed to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. I am positive they aren't supposed to gasp and gulp for air.

By the time Chet made it around the second part before the final lap, he had fallen somewhere, bruised his knee, was walking because his energy was sapped, and could barely muster the breath to say "gonna throw up." I really didn't know if he would make it the rest of the way. He was paler than he was the first round, and I could see he was exhausted. The mom part of me that doesn't want him hospitalized or worn out for two weeks wanted to pull him out right then and there. The mom part of me that just wants to see my son's dreams for himself come to fruition couldn't bear the idea of that. In the end, I kept silent except to say, "You're almost there, Chet! Don't worry about anyone else, just do what you can do!"

The kids finally heaved their way around the last lap, and I saw Faith coming with these two girls. They are from the highschool CC team, and were there to help guide the kids around the paths. These two basically adopted Faith, and through the rest of the lap kept her going when she wanted to stop and walk. Later she told me that anytime she slowed down again, they cheered her on and literally helped push her forward to keep her going. They were awesome.

I missed seeing Chet come in, and for a minute before I found him, I felt an internal panic bubbling up as I wondered if he had passed out during that last lap. But he had made it ---- safe, sound, and sweaty.

In the end, Chet came in last place, and Faith was 2nd to last. I thought it was a glowing victory for both of them. They could have stopped. They could have given up. Instead, they pushed on and they both finished the race.

I do love to see my kids win in sports, but sometimes I think there are much better things to be experienced in losing. Not only does Chet want to train harder and longer now, he is actually asking me to make him salad to eat. He has never eaten salad. Somebody stole myveggie hater, and replaced him with tall gangly teenager! EEK!


Anonymous said...

Congratulation to both of you for giving it your all! I'm proud of you and love you. Hugs and kisses from Gramma Pam!

annhud said...

hey, Jennifer - I'm on!!! Wonderful stuff!

annhud said...

I am trying to leave a comment - good job!