Saturday, January 23, 2016

Three Generation Race

Making a correlation between road races and life's journey is nothing new. However, on January 1st, the symbolism of the race tugged at my heart, making this year's Resolution Race all the more poignant and memorable.

For the first time, I ran a race with my parents and every member of my family (Charlotte and Owen did the 4K, but I'm counting it!).
In addition, we were joined this year by the Lush family--including Maria, my awesome running partner--and the Schoeny family.

Charlotte was the first to take off. She sprinted down the grass hill, her blond hair flying behind her. We cheered from the top of the hill. Oh the bitter cold! We hopped, skipped, and bounced to stay warm before our starting time. We followed the fitness trainer's instructions to dance to the music (some more enthusiastically than others) as we waited. Grandma was a dancing genius! She and Poppy were darling as they partnered up, danced toward each other, and do-si-doed arm in arm.

Right before our start, I frantically looked for Maria and was thrilled when she and her boys ran up to join us at the starting line. Madi and Elise started the race at the front of the line, pumped and ready to win. Gift certificates are powerful motivators.

The race wound its way on gravel roads up through Morvan Park to the beautiful mansion. For the 5K, it's a down and back which meant I was able to see Madi and Elise, give them a high-five, and confirm that they indeed were in 1st and 2nd place for the girls.

During, the final stretch back up the hill, Madi and Elise (who had already finished) ran back down to join me. Madi encouraged, "You can do it Mom! Start your sprint!" With their cheers in my ears, their shoes in cadence with mine, my breathing loud, and my heart pounding, I charged up that darn grassy hill. As soon as I took a minute to catch my breath, we all ran back to join Grandma and Poppy for their finish.

On to the awards ceremony! We cheered as each person claimed their prize. Madi 1st overall girl, Elise 2nd overall girl, me (yes, slow me!) 3rd overall girl. Grandma 1st in her age category. Poppy 1st in his age category. Paul 3rd overall for the 10K--he's the true athlete amongst us! My favorite moment was when Paul told the announcer, "I'm a friend of the Abbes" to round out the ongoing joke of the Abbes sweeping the awards.

We pooled our winning certificates and celebrated at Shenanigans in Leesburg for dinner.

Here are my race-life-connections:

1. I try harder when someone encourages me. 
2. I try even harder when someone stays by my side through the hardest part.
3. A finish line is better with friends and family. The shared-experience. The shared-accomplishment. The shared-celebration.
4. Family is everything. How I love sharing this race/this life with them! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Snow and Light

The snow is here. I watched the world outside my kitchen window transform this afternoon from a silent brown to a soft blur of white. Mother nature has given me a weekend to breathe, remember, and write.

December was a flurry of activity (all without a single flake of snow!). My parents came to visit for two weeks. We packed our schedule full of seasonal fun. One highlight, for me, was Carols by Candlelight at the National Cathedral. We arrived in a downpour. Rain fell in sheets, drenching my parents and hiding the tall stone pillars which seemed to disappear in the grey sky. My mom spent the evening literally wringing and shaking out her soaked skirt.

However, the music and glow of the evening warmed my soul. Near the end of the service, we lit our taper candles. From our view in the balcony, I watched as the light spread from person to person, down the rows until the cathedral twinkled like a starry night sky. The hope. The warmth of humanity. The light.

My hope for this coming, it's always my hope, my never-ending hope, is that my life (and the lives of my children) can be filled with light.