I am still in complete shock from saturday morning’s race. I had been preparing Cayden for weeks that the Sourdough Stampede was coming up. It was the very 1st race he had ever run last year…I know that kind of sounds silly saying…because he is only 5 and most kids probably can’t admit to a race completed unless it was mandated from their P.E. teacher. We had the idea to allow him to race last year when a friend was having her 5 yr old run. At first I was really nervous to have Cayden participate who was at the time just a few days past his 4th bday. Cayden was totally psyched to run and the enthusiasm soared when Richard had designed t-shirts for all of us that said “breathing for Ezzy”. Here is what took place last year at the sourdough stampede…
I had made the decision to run with Cayden, mainly because I was the only one brave enough out of Richard and myself to go and run a mile in absolutely no shape. Richard pushed the girls along in our jogger and would let Ezzy hop out from time to time. I remember during the race Cayden looking up at me and saying “come on mom, lets go”…slightly discouraging when a kid half your size is telling you that you are SLOW. He ran his little heart out and completed his 1st race in 12:23!! The very next thing he did, shocked me. He gladly received his lollypop and then took off back on the race route. I started to chase after him, trying to figure out what he was doing, I could honestly barely move, I was worn out. By the time I got close to him, he looked up and said, “mom, I have to go get Ezzy!!”. I then watched cayden find her with all the other kids who found the one mile just as hard as me. He reached out and grabbed her hand and told her, “good job Ezzy! isn’t this fun”. She was soon overwhelmed with all the people cheering at the finish line and turned to run to one of her parents. But he kept hold of her and told her that they had to finish together. I watched my 4 yr old boy become the biggest advocate in her life in those few seconds. He cheered her on, saw that she was scared and said just the right words to get her across the finish line.
I was hesitant to throw out the race this year to Ezzy. She hates big crows, any attention drawn to her by people outside our small support group, but most of all hates to do something that YOU might think is a good idea. Obstinance pulses through her veins at in an unmeasurable amount. I knew that Cayden being the high achieving 1st born would be thrilled to get out and run the 1st race of the year. But didn’t want to even mention it to Ezzy.
One day during cayden and I’s conversation regarding running, Ezzy piped up and said, “I want to run with Cayden”. I explained to her that this year daddy wouldn’t be there to push her in the jogger, due to flying home from a business trip in the middle of the race. I told her that if she wanted to do it then she would have to run/walk the whole way, that I couldn’t carry her. I had injured my ankle the week prior and was already concerned about running the mile with Cayden and then doing the 5k immediately after.
Well, her mind was made up, (thankfully I didn’t mention it or she never would have had any desire to participate). She told me she wanted to have “strong lungs and no gunkies in my lungs”, “like mommy”. She has asked me alot during my training for the 1/2 marathon coming up in a few weeks, why I run. I have always told her that I want “strong lungs and to get the gunk out of my lungs”, it was the only way I could describe to her the importance of the choice I made less then a year ago. The choice I made to be an example of health rather then an imitator, for a child that needed an example.
We headed out to Walmart a few days before the race to find her some running shoes. Every woman’s dream that is apparently innate was written all over her face. She ran and hugged shoes and said “I LOVE these shoes”. She had to try on every single shoe, including dress shoes until she had to make the painstaking miserable decision EVERY woman hates…to just pick one pair. When that decision was made she turned to the aisle of shoes with some remorse or regret over the shoes she finally decided on, the ones that were quickly thrown into the cart before myself, cayden, or Kyre had a meltdown after the time spent down said aisle.
With the help of her new running shoes and some incentive from her brother, Ezzy soon decided to put on her running shoes every day and run up and down our hallway until she was out of breath. I would see this little blob, with crazy curls bouncing in every direction zoom by. When I caught a few glimpses of her face, there was a huge smile placed from cheek to cheek, followed by a very focused and determined look. One that I am told melts daddy’s heart because all he can see is me when she has that look.
The day of the race came, Ezzy and Cayden could not contain their excitement. I don’t know if they were more excited about going and eating pancakes at some random place or the fact I promised they could have my “running” cereal before leaving. They call my cereal that name, because its super expensive high protein cereal that I started eating when I started running, and I don’t SHARE!
The got dressed in their CF shirts and followed me around the house, asking every few seconds if it was time to go yet…I eventually threw them in the car because I really wanted to get dressed without 6 eyes staring at me.
We were blessed to have Cayden’s teacher join us, and she ran with Cayden so that I could run with Ezzy who definitely wouldn’t be able to keep up with brother. My mom also offered to push Kyre in the jogger on the off chance Ezzy couldn’t do it. She just got over a long month of antibiotics and horrible cough just 2 weeks ago, and I was worried that running in the cold morning air was going to hurt.
Cayden and Ms. Kendra took off when the race started. I was SO thankful in that moment that God provided someone for him to run with so that he could reach his goal of beating his time last year 🙂 I wonder where he gets that from…
Ezzy ran her little heart out, we passed a few older kids just before the .5 mile turn around and I couldn’t believe that my little 3 yr old was holding her own!!! Shortly after the turn around she reached her wall and started to cry, she had lost sight of her fast brother and didn’t see a point in going on. I reminded her that Nana and Kyre were waiting for us, with hopes of seeing Nana, she walked for a few seconds and picked her pace up. Nana and sweet Kyre (who had been holding her hand out for all the runners to slap on their way past) were soon within our sights. We were just a little over .25 miles away from the finish line and soon faced with a child that had NO desire to finish. Nana had the great idea to tell Ezzy to race Kyre. My mom, who isn’t a runner, soon found herself running and pushing the jogger. There we were grandmother, mother, and little sister, giving our all to see our Ezzy cross the finish line. This memory is one that I hope to never loose. With giggles and beaming faces we were able to push through a little more. Less then 200 meters away Ezzy then again started to tear up and said she needed to spit. She was not joking, she spit out a huge glob of gunk, I was SO stinking excited when she did this. I have heard from countless adult CFers who care about their health, that running is one of the best ways they clear their lungs!!!
I got down on my knees and wiped away the tears she had and told her that we could walk, we didn’t have to run. But that daddy was waiting for us at the finish line. I asked her to wipe her tears and run, that sometimes running is hard, and mommy wants to cry during some runs, truthfully. She perked up and immediately had a new drive to finish. When daddy was within sight, he came running up to her and grabbed her hand. Cayden was there waiting as well and we soon crossed the finish line, hand in hand, as a family.
I am certain that most people won’t understand that reliving this precious day is one that is going to bring tears to our eyes for awhile. I fought tears welling up inside when I saw her smiling and running as fast as she could. I fight tears when I think about the races down the road that she will have to opt out of because of something that is fighting to take her breath away. But for now, the tears that are present, are tears of JOY, tears of hope, and tears that God has allowed us to have, because HE knows that we will do everything in our power to help Ezzy run to LIVE.