Tom and I have always predicted that our kids will either love running or hate it. That’s what happens when you spectate your first marathon as a three-month old. When it comes to your parents’ passions, there is no half way. We expect they’ll have similar opinions about Virginia Tech football, Java Chip Frappuccinos and Microsoft Excel.
Two weekends ago David had his first chance to run his own race. His school had a race to help raise money for the scholarship fund, and I was part of the team that organized the race. I’ve probably run more than 100 races, but this was the first time I’ve been on the organization side of things. Wow, what a job.
There was a mile race for bigger kids, and a 5k for the biggest kids, and a dash for preschoolers.
While we waited for the races to start, David ran back and forth in the field, sometimes pushing a stroller (below), sometimes not (above). We would have told him to conserve his energy, but unlike every other age group on the planet, toddler energy cannot be depleted. Me? Blinking requires energy that I do not possess. But watching David and his friends run and jump makes me wonder why there isn’t an engineer somewhere working to figure out how to siphon toddler energy because, fuel crisis? High gas prices? Global warming? SOLVED.
After the mile, the 5k runners lined up.
Tom ran the 5k, and he ran a great race even though he hasn’t run at all, not even a step, since the half marathon.
He ran 7-ish minute miles, but still managed to run a sub-20 minute 5k. If you’re familar with your multiplication times tables, you know that it’s impossible to run 3.1 miles in under 20 minutes if you’re running 7-minute miles. But in this particular race there was some, um, confusion on the course. Tom and the rest of the front pack (and probably others, but they didn’t make as much noise) went off course – once running farther than they had to, and twice cutting off large portions of the course.
One might blame the insufficient course markings on Tom’s wife, who happened to be responsible for both setting and marking the course. But the more obvious problem was that Tom was running way too fast to see the clear, unmissable course markings.
After the 5k was the marquee event: the preschool dash.
The kids lined up to race on the field that David had spent all morning running laps across.
David’s cousin Caleb raced, too. David had sufficiently warmed up, was familiar with the course, and if you’ll notice, he’s wearing his red New Balances. These are the shoes he calls his “fast shoes”. Also, we had talked race strategy with him. Something like, “…don’t go out too fast…sprint hard at the end…if you don’t win then you’re out of the will…”
David was prepped for success.
Look at Caleb run!
If you’re a person who runs and races with friends, races are always a bit awkward. Because what if you’re having a great day and your friend’s having a bad day? Or vice versa? What do you do? Do you leave them? If it was a training run there would be no question: you’d stay with them. But races are different. There are goals and PRs on the line. That’s why you have to talk about that scenario before the race. And I guess the boys did, because there’s Caleb, running all alone; sweat is glistening on his brow, the wind is at his back. But where’s David?
Look closely. In the back on the right you can barely see him in a green shirt. Tom is bending down to pick him up and David is well on his way to a DNF.
When they said GO!, David started running, ran about 10 feet, then did a 180 and ran back to Tom.
The kids all got medals and David refused to wear his. He loves medals, but he also has integrity. One does not wear a medal if one does not earn it.
After the races we all relaxed, enjoyed the beautiful weather, and the kids had an Easter egg hunt.
So what if Tom ran off course and David blew the race? The good news is that we all had a great time, celebrated what Jesus is doing through the preschool, and now I have a great story to tell when David wins a gold medal in Olympic marathon. No pressure, kid.