Running for a Reason

Running for a Reason

Running with her is the last thing I thought I’d be doing last weekend, the last thing I ever thought I’d do, actually, but there I was Saturday morning, jogging beside her as she crossed the finish line. She was so tickled with herself, with finishing under forty minutes, and she beamed when she realized she took third place in her age group. Not bad for her first 5K.

It’s been a while since my last race, mainly because I don’t run that much anymore, at least not like I used to, which is to say a lot. I used to be the chick with the training schedule, the one with the mileage and the races marked all over her calendar, the one to whom people always said, “Saw you running the other day.”

And I had every intention of resuming that routine after my son was born. In fact, I bought the BMW of jogging strollers and a special infant seat so we could train together long before the stroller’s manufacturer recommended it.

But then a bad back put the kibosh on that plan.

I don’t really remember when I first noticed it, maybe when Wes was a month old. But nothing feels fantastic after giving birth, so I figured my body was still recovering. But as the weeks went by, I realized the shooting pain that woke me up night after night might be something more.

So I took ibuprofen and went to physical therapy. I tried stretching and strengthening my core with abdominal exercises. When those didn’t work, I fiddled with alternative medicines like cranio-sacral massage, essential oils, herbs, more massage. We even bought a new, memory foam mattress.

Finally, after more than a year with little to no relief, I wondered if maybe, just maybe, God wasn’t trying to tell me something. So I stopped running and started listening.

I listened to all the reasons I told myself I needed to run, the monsters and mistakes I was running from, the applause and approval I was running toward, and with every messed-up motive I heard myself admit, something slowly released in me.

It took several more months, but my back began to feel better, too. I wasn’t waking up in the middle of the night in severe pain anymore. I could actually walk in the morning. I emptied the dishwasher and carried the groceries and held my son without wincing.

And, after all that time, I didn’t really feel like running anymore.

Until my husband signed us up for a 5K.

An organization he works with was sponsoring a race, and he thought it’d be fun to run together as a family. At first I hestitated, I was afraid to go down this road again, of blowing my mental sobriety. But with a clear goal in mind of sticking together and supporting a good cause, we started our training.

The girls were excited, we called ourselves Team Oldfield, and a couple of times a week we “ran” around our neighborhood like a bunch of fitness misfits. Sometimes we finished with a devotion, sometimes we treated ourselves to ice cream. But we always finished feeling closer to each other, like pounding the pavement somehow tenderized our hearts.

Race day eventually came, and Team Oldfield showed up in full force. I ran alongside Rainey, pushing Wes in my overpriced jogging stroller, while Scott and Lilla ran a few feet behind us. We hooped and hollered and high-fived each other for 3.1 miles, and when we crossed the finish line together, I’ve never been happier with a race result.

Running for a Reason

Running for a Reason

Running for a Reason

A couple weeks later we considered doing another race, a local 5K that winds its way through one of our favorite places in town. The girls were up for it, especially if more ice cream was involved, and I told my Dad’s wife, Sylvia, about it the day before the race. She’s been running a little bit these days, too, and I sent her the Couch-to-5K program a while ago to encourage her. Even though she’d been sick all week, she said she wanted to run with us as well.

So last Saturday the six of us met at Hess Field and registered for the annual Robbins Run. Rainey decided she wanted to try to win a trophy, so she pleaded with us to let her run ahead. We gave her the thumbs up, and I ran with her long enough to help her pace herself and avoid burning out. That left Scott to push Wes through the muddy course with Lilla and Sylvia.

Less than thirty minutes later, after crossing the finish line with Rainey and celebrating with a cold cup of water and a handful of gummy bears, I back-tracked to support the rest of Team Oldfield. About a half-mile into the woods, I found them and fell in step with Sylvia, who tenaciously kept up with Scott and the other two for almost the entire race.

As we came out of the woods and approached the finish line, I was ecstatic for her, for my children, for completing another race together as a family. And moments later, when Sylvia and my daughters each received trophies in their respective age groups, their faces beaming in the golden glow of their achievement, I realized watching them win their awards was way better than winning my own.

Running for a Reason

Running for a Reason

And it made me thankful for my bum back, for the way pregnancy and motherhood has changed my body and my heart. Because sometimes God takes something away only to replace it with something so much better, a prize definitely worth winning.

Running for a Reason

Comments

  1. Pastor Dawes says:

    Congratulations to the entire Oldfield Team!! That is so awesome!

  2. Colleen says:

    I have yet to read one of your posts and not cry. I love team Oldfield!

  3. Hip-hip-hooray!!! hip-hip-hooray!! hip-hip-hooray!!! ….for all of you. Great job, Megan and Scott!!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Megan. I really got a lot out of this. (I must have I read three times) I could identify with so much of it. Your girls looked so happy and proud of themselves. I am sure they felt grateful to be a part of such a wonderful family.

  5. What a spectacular event! It takes hard work to come together and to stay together. Your sweet story is a testament to that. God bless each of you real good. Congradulations team Oldfield.

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