It poured all day yesterday and the temperatures were unseasonably cool. Not the weather conditions I had hoped for our first 10k.
We were so close to bailing. Even when we parked to walk over to the event start, we had it in our minds that it would be fine to just get back in the Aztec and drive home. Walker stepped right into a huge puddle when we got out. We tugged our rain jacket hoods up over our heads, pulled our fists into our sleeve cuffs, and crossed our arms tightly in front of us.
If you aren't from Georgia, you won't believe this, but when its cold + rainy:: It. Is. COLD. Seriously.
We walked two blocks over to the glow party, though, and our thoughts of bailing drifted away. We found some free cotton candy and decided we were going to make some good memories.
A few minutes later we spotted Walker's PE teacher and Walker beamed. She's the one that organized the Loyd Running Club and has faithfully devoted her Saturday mornings to us this entire school year. She loves to see people enjoy running, and she has been such an excellent encourager - not just for the boys, but for me too. Her genuine excitement for the kids' achievements is unmistakable. I'll always be grateful for her generosity to our family. Every child should have a teacher like this in their life.
It was a tough 10k. Poor Walker had to take a few walk breaks on account of running with slow momma. There were places where the rain puddles covered the entire course and the water splashed high as we ran through it. The course volunteers all cheered for the "little dude" whenever we passed by. I asked Walker why he thought they all cheered for him and not me, he just laughed. He actually looked for puddles to run through, rather than avoiding them.
As we hit mile 5, we were exchanging adjectives about how our bodies felt: cold, heavy, tired, wet. But then I switched it up and started throwing out words like: impressive, amazing, fierce. It was enough to keep us going. We stopped on the pedestrian bridge to take in the view of the wildly, swirling Chattahoochee River. It felt like we were the only ones out there, even though there were course volunteers on both ends of the bridge. It was almost magical.
We finally glimpsed the finish line, and the volunteers yelled, "its just up the hill!" As we came up to the last block we could hear someone yell out, "Here comes Walker!" Then, the remaining spectators started chanting, "Walker, Walker, Walker!" I so wish I could have got a picture of his face when he realized what they were saying. Bright eyes, big smile and a whole lotta determination. It was awesome! I could feel that thick lump in my throat and tears filling in my eyes -- but there was no way I could finish the last block if I lost it, so I just kept looking at WJ and savoring the moment. Of course, Walker's teacher was in that crowd, and he was so thrilled to see her at the end.
We headed back to the glow party and got ourselves some blue popcorn and a banana. We danced to "Happy," and decided we should head for the car. But then they started passing out awards, and I was pretty sure I hadn't seen anyone else on the 10k course that was Walker's size. I decided we should stay and see if he might get something for his age group. When they called his name, I got to see that look on his face again for a split second. And the entire cold, wet, windy run was so worth it.
|2nd place in the 14-and-under division|
When we got back to the car, I called Brad ASAP because it was late. Then we took off our wet socks and put on some dry ones. As I climbed into my seat, I told Walker that I was really glad he ran with me, because I probably would've quit if he wasn't out there. He said, "I'm glad you ran with me, because I probably would have quit without you too." .