I ran cross-country in high school. I was neither fast nor good, but my parents felt I needed another activity on my resume. They didn’t think the sport of “cheerleading” would quite be enough to fully impress upon the colleges I applied to my athletic prowess. So, I ran cross-country, an open sport that no student was required to try out for, just to make sure it looked like I had some athletic ability. At least on paper. Because I really didn’t have any. And I still don’t.
I pretty much hated every minute of cross-country, particularly the meets. I spent every single race – before, during, and after – figuring out how to get myself disqualified.
The dialogue in my head usually went something like this. I hate this. I can’t breathe. I feel terrible. I can’t believe my parents made me do this. This sucks. I feel bad. I have a cramp in my side. O God, it hurts. It is getting worse. I hate this! I don’t want to do this! Maybe I could fall and skin my knee and stop. It would have to be a pretty bad fall, a major trip and then a crash. I might even need to throw a good roll down a hill in there. Then I could stop. I can’t keep on running if I am bloody. No, that probably wouldn’t cut it. I probably need to break my ankle. Can I break my own ankle somehow?
So, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I did not participate in Jay’s big adventure race this past weekend – an all day race that involves running, biking, and canoeing, up rivers and through woods for God’s sake – that he has been training for for months. Competing in an adventure race would not be in my wheelhouse. It is way out of my ballpark. In fact, there is no ballpark. When it comes to me and adventure races, the stadium is closed down and the team has relocated.
So, the girls and I tagged along with Jay, not to race, but to be his cheering section, all three of us that is, and we also made a weekend getaway out of it.
Fortunately, the adventure race is a team event, so not only did we spend the weekend in a beautiful cabin, but also with some of our favorite people, friends from high school and college whom we have known forever. It amazes me sometimes how far we all go back and how long we have all known each other and that we are all still such good friends. A rare gift, I think.
There was no shortage of kids this weekend. They hit it off immediately. There were big kids and little kids and natural groups formed, but they were all very sweet with each other. The big kids tramped through the woods and explored outside most of the weekend, while the little kids stayed close to the house. Which was just fine with the moms.
Lilla and Eva, the two oldest girls, paired off and were together constantly – walking, talking, playing, and sleeping. It led to me feeling like Lilla was “off” with a friend most of the weekend, and yet, it was a real joy to watch their interactions and their friendship develop so quickly. They obviously had a lot to discuss communicate about.
Bette was great all weekend, much to my surprise. I was not expecting it. I think we may have turned another corner. She has changed quite a bit since turning three years old, and now that her yelling is under control, her personality is blooming. She is turning out to be very charming, fun and quite the little ham. She is still a live wire, and a hard charger, but she has a sensitive side, which makes it much easier for me to reel her in.
The big boys did not do as well as they would have liked in their race, and you should see Jay’s legs because they look like they have been through a shredder. But the post-race beer, hot tub, and oven-roasted marshmallows back at the house eased their disappointment, as well as their aches and pains.
We all sat up late Saturday night, talking about what old friends talk about, and then we said goodbye early Sunday morning and headed home.
It was a good weekend, but I am not sure there are more adventure races in our future. They are getting harder and harder to do, due to aging (because 36 is so old!), career responsibilities, and family obligations.
I think instead all the adults should go spend an annual long weekend at the beach, with no kids tagging along, and no running allowed. That my friends, would certainly hit the spot.