Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Run Free Mama Dash

You’ve heard of the Warrior Dash, the Color Run, and even Glow Runs.  Neat.  We have too.  But when we tried to think of what makes a person a true athlete…a true warrior, if you will, there was nothing that more clearly identified the kind of champions we strive to be than this little adventure race called Motherhood.  

When we saw the Run Free Mama Dash Adventure Race was going to be held on Mothers’ Day weekend, we knew we owed it to ourselves and our precious children to see if we had what it takes to test our mental and physical mommy strength.  So, we gathered the fiercest group of mothers around and signed up.  

Our adrenaline was really pumping as we geared up at the starting line.  Our first challenge was to carry babies in the world’s heaviest contraptions (aka infant carseats).  They loaded our little darlings down with full diapers to really give the obstacle the extra 3.5 pounds of weight it needed.  And let us tell you, carrying these while running 5K…not easy.  We just kept telling ourselves to pretend it was a Sunday morning sprint across the church parking lot.  Because we all remember those Sunday mornings of being 40 minutes late to church because of baby spit up, toddler tantrums, and poop…so much poop.  But, by golly, you got everyone dressed and to church and you were not going to let a simple thing like “being on time” stop you.  Once we channeled that, the 5K was a breeze!

The next obstacle was The Diaper Crawl.  This obstacle was built for us.  Sure, as new mothers the smell of a baby’s poop was enough to send us gagging.  But after changing somewhere in the range of 12,500 diapers, this obstacle was nothing we couldn’t handle.  A little mommy competition may have even come out as we set out across the soiled battle field.  

After The Diaper Crawl, we ran another 3 miles to The Grocery Store Challenge.  All mothers know that grocery shopping with children is its own special experience.  Sometimes the children are wonderful and engaged in the shopping experience.  Other times, you have to be ready to run through that grocery store like your life depended on it.  Because YOU KNOW you have exactly as long as the free Target cookie lasts until one of your children has a complete meltdown.

Public Service Announcement: If you own a pair of jeans that resemble these, THROW THEM AWAY!
Mothers of the world, give up the Mom Jeans. They are not flattering. At all. 

Why was this race so fun???  Because we had the loving support of our sweet husbands and children cheering us on the entire way!  Just like any rough day, a simple sweet phrase and hug from your kiddo can make you feel like you can get back up and go an extra mile…or 20. The goldfish and juice boxes also provided just the sugar boost we needed.

 After making record breaking time at the Grocery Store Challenge, we sprinted to the next obstacle.  While this one appears to be simple in nature, The Highchair Highway was trickier than we expected.  We strapped our youngest ones in and ran 3.2 miles.  We must admit, the Goldfish crackers being thrown from the trays became an obstacle in and of themselves.  If you think Goldfish dust isn’t a real thing, then you’ve never strapped a one-year-old in a highchair and run 3.2 miles.  It’s all kinds of real.

 But that Highchair challenge was only the beginning of the food throwing we were about to endure.  As mothers, we’ve all been covered in peas, corn, and multiple other foods on more occasions than we can count.  In fact, from the time our children were ages birth through 3, most of us didn’t purchase any new clothes because we just knew they’d end up covered in stains.  So, this was a challenge we were fully prepared for.  You aren’t a true mommy warrior unless you’ve been pelted with handfuls of corn and peas from multiple children all at one time!

The biggest challenge we had to face was the emotional endurance test – the Mile Long Nag. We ran as fast as we could through this obstacle, gathering our patience and endurance to help us push through. It was tough. It was draining. Even now, I can barely speak of the challenge without my head tilting slightly and forehead vein popping out.

Once we made it through that obstacle, we were tired.  We were worn.  We were exhausted.  This race of motherhood isn’t for the faint of heart.  But we kept running because that’s what mothers do.  One foot in front of the other.  One step at a time.  And then we looked up and remembered why we do it.  Because the blessings for which we run are completely worth it.  And as we crossed that finish line, we were met with their sweet little faces eager to say, “GOOD JOB, MOMMY!”  There, waiting at the finish line were our adorable children with their homemade medals. They were so proud of us!

You see, our children were waiting for us at a streamer that marked the end of this little adventure on pavement. But the true adventure of Motherhood never ends. From the day you find out you are expecting a bundle of joy, you are a mother. And you get the privilege of having that tile for...forever. No matter the age of your baby or the stage of life they are in, you will always be "Mom." What a blessing. What a privilege. What a journey. And so on this Mother's Day Weekend, we are reminded that this job - MOTHERHOOD - it is work. It is hard. It is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And there is nothing better than getting to do it each and every day.

Disclaimer: No children were harmed during the course of the Run Free Mama Dash Adventure Race. Blog post was written in conjunction with 2 Kids Playing House.