A year ago this past weekend, I ran my first official half-marathon and had my most beautiful race experience ever, at the Martian Marathon in Dearborn, Michigan. Two days later, the Boston Marathon Bombing happened; that night, my then-eight-year-old asked if he could go for a run with me. I blogged about that experience here.
I had high hopes of continuing my runs with him, as well as of preparing for a full marathon. But a few days later, I realized I was injured, and my recovery took longer than expected. In the year since all of that, I’ve stopped and started running a few times, setting and revising goals all along. I won’t bore you with the details, but the upshot is that by mid-February this year, (after already giving up the goal of a full marathon in late fall), I realized I needed to quit trying to prepare to run the same half-marathon again this spring. In fact, I’ve taken a break from running pretty much entirely for now, and have devoted myself to something else in the interim, which I’ll share about when the time is right.
It’s funny how sometimes in order to receive some new gift in your life you have to let go of something else first. Within a few days of releasing the goal of my next half-marathon, and of giving up running entirely (for now), my son asked me if I would help him train for the kids’ marathon at the same event. The idea is that, over a period of several weeks, kids log miles with the goal of completing 25 miles before race day. Then on race day, all the kids run 1.2 miles together. The focus is on completing the distance not on being fast (the race isn’t timed at all). The kids who do it, receive the same medal that the adult marathon runners do.
Little Buddha didn’t care whether we ran or walked for our training; in fact, he preferred to mostly walk. So in mid-February, when it was still bitterly cold and snowy, we began our walks together. I rarely get time with just one child, but Tiny Dancer had no interest in joining us, so it was just the two of us for all those miles. Most of the time, he did all the talking, while I got to listen. A few times, he asked really important questions, or shared pretty deep thoughts. Sometimes he would slip his hand into mine while we walked. Little Buddha was focused on winning that medal, but I felt like I got my reward every time we walked – time with him.
When race day was almost here, I decided to make him something special, in celebration of his achievement. Since the race is martian-themed, I went with a tiny alien from Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi: More Than 40 Itty-Bitty Minis to Knit, Wear, and Give:
THE CUTE, y’all. I could hardly stand it. I didn’t have fingering weight yarn in the right shade, so I went with Stonehedge Fiber Mill Shepherd’s Wool DK in lime along with some light bright blue for the antennae (I think it’s called “lakeshore”) and some navy for the eyes. Because I used a heavier yarn than the pattern calls for, he’s a little bigger than the book shows. But he’s still pretty little:
Little Buddha carried him along for the race packet pick-up:
And brought him to the start line:
And actually ran while holding him. In fact, the alien’s a little felted now, from the sweat and the friction. And the love!
Though we mostly walked for our 25 miles of training, we ran a good bit of the 1.2 miles on Saturday. It was a perfect day for it, and doing stop-start slowish running with a kid didn’t seem to aggravate my injury too much. We crossed the finish line hand-in-hand.
Of course he had the handknit alien in the other hand.
If you are a runner, you know how great it feels to cross the finish line. If you are the parent of a runner, you know how wonderful it is to see them cross the finish line. If you are a knitter, you know how amazing it feels to see someone cherish something you’ve made for them. So yeah, I was pretty much feeling all the feels on Saturday.
And now I basically want to knit all the teeny-tiny mochimochi toys for my kids and everyone else.