The Quintanas, Week 23: House of Pain, Hearts of Joy

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

quintana family race picture

Credit: Christian Roman

There is no greater joy than the pride that comes with watching somebody you love do something they never thought they would be capable of.

We live in a small suburb of Miami, where people pride themselves on their family events. Their yearly Get Fit Family 5K Race is no exception. There were people of all shapes, ages and sizes running. None would ever hold as special a race as the three runners from my family.

My two oldest children, Aaron and Elizabeth, run in the race every year. Elizabeth even took first place for her division two years ago. This year, we had an extra special entry: My husband, David. He has been working out religiously since the beginning of the Healthy Families Challenge, pushing his body to new limits he never thought possible.

David started the race telling himself that as long as he completed the 3.1-mile run in 45 minutes, he would be satisfied. Little did he know how much unnecessary time he was giving himself! Until beginning HFC, David had not really run since high school. Even as a teen, sprints were his forte. I think he actually went into the 5k this weekend feeling skeptical. Had you told my husband a year ago that this year he'd do more than just stand on the sideline waiting for the kids to come in, his reaction would most likely have been a laugh and some dry, sarcastic remark.

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The last few weeks have been rough on David. The loss of his mom left a huge void and depleted him of positive energy. As a matter of fact, he was not even planning on attending the race, much less running in it. Since his mom passed away, David had even struggled with going to the gym, or what has become his second home, American Top Team Doral. That actually worried me, because he has rarely skipped a beat taking different classes at ATT.

Saturday morning, as I was preparing the kids to go to the race, I saw David crawl out of bed and start getting dressed to run. I was overwhelmed with excitement.

As we arrived, David and the kids begin stretching. He spotted a lady in the corner who was well advanced in age, and said, "My only goal is to beat her." Well, funny thing, that specific lady flew past David, but he did come in at 32 minutes and 36 seconds, beating his self-imposed goal by over 10 minutes. He was expecting to have to walk most of the five kilometers. David ran a good two thirds of the race, only walking about one third.

The pride I felt for him was beat only by the heart-in-throat moment I had when I saw that my daughter, Elizabeth -- who ran her last 5k in 23 minutes flat -- pacing herself on this day to stay near her dad. She shouted out occasional cheers of encouragement to him, in the hopes of giving him some extra push. I know that running this race was super exciting for her since she had been so bummed out over her thumb not healing, and this was the one thing she could still do. David later shared how much her support helped keep him going.

Then, there was Aaron. He finished the race in 21 minutes. As each of his family members were turning the bend behind him and sprinting towards the finish line, Aaron ran beside them in order to encourage them all the way to the end.

I was waiting at the finish line with my mom, Nory, and my two younger children, Christian and Chloe. The shouting was deafening as Aaron, Beth and David each crossed the finish line.

This event has encouraged all of us to push ourselves. David is now running two miles daily without stopping, with the intent to get to the full three miles nonstop. I have decided that, even if I have to walk it, I will participate in the 5K next March, and Chloe wants to travel the three miles with me. Christian wants to actually run next year with his siblings. Even my mom was encouraged to participate next year.

Amazing! All they think they did last weekend was run a race. In reality, they set an example that has encouraged many to change their lifestyle.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.