One of my favorite things about my ward is the emphasis placed on health and fitness. I have never known such a high concentration of marathon runners! We have a very active exercise group in Relief Society, we share healthy and easy dinner recipes all the time, and it is not uncommon for sisters to watch each other's kids to give each other a chance to work out alone. Our ward garden is stocked full of fresh veggies and is flourishing. The Bountiful Basket sites around here have multiplied and it is still hard to schedule a basket of my own if I wait too long to order.
There is a functioning TOPS group in the area. We have some running trails around here, and one goes straight up a big hill. It is not pretty- there is nothing to look at except dusty fields and ant hills. That hasn't prevented people from using it, though. I think I can count on my hand the number of times I have driven that main road and found the running trail vacant- and that includes in the dark and amidst icy weather. Everyone motivtes each other to be healthy and we celebrate the victories and encourage through the struggles. It is amazing.
Ummm, that was a huge tangent.... anyway- one more sign of the health oriented status of this ward is that for the 4th of July ward activity (actually held on the 2nd before the Stadium of Fire), there was a ward 4K. Everyone was encouraged to walk, run, ride, or crawl the route, and then meet at the church for burritos made by our Bishop, who used to own a Mexican restaurant. Ross rode the bike with Jack and Sara in the trailer, and Emma ran it with me.
She was so funny as we started out because she was running as fast as she could. When I asked her to slow down she said, "I won't slow down ever. NEVER!" Of course this epic statement was accompanied with the appropriate fist pump and inner Rocky soundtrack.
That lasted for 5 minutes.
To her credit, it was hot. Really hot. 96 degrees hot! And there is no shade out here.
We walked and jogged when she felt up to it, and whenever we found little tidbits of shade from houses, cars, or large bushes along the path, I had her crouch down in it and take 10 deep breaths to cool her down.
About 2 miles in, the first counselor in the bishop ric stood waiting with water bottles, which pepped Emma up immenseley. Now our shade breaks included sips of water as well.
My little runner in training completed her first 4K in 40 minutes. We didn't win any medals, but I was super proud of her! She was the youngest person to complete the race on foot. Most of the other primary children rode bikes, or hopped in strollers part-way through.
Later that night while Ross and I were at the Stadium of Fire, Emma kept telling everyone that she had run 14 miles. It was hard for her to say 4 Kilometers. It probably felt like 14 miles to her and her little legs.
I didn't take any pictures because, well, I was tired and we both looked not the best... I did want to record, however, just how proud I am of her for finishing something that ended up being much harder than she had anticipated. She wanted to quit a couple of times, but she pushed through and showed just how strong she can be. Good job, Roo! That won't be the last time we run together!