I picked up our bibs on Friday at the Rec Center. The woman there informed me that Cabo, the trendy Mexican restaurant in town, was going to host a free pasta (Yes, I said Mexican) dinner. Nobody has to say "free" twice to me. That evening we gathered the miniatures and headed to dinner. They had an entire room set aside for
It actually tasted a lot better
than it looks.
The next morning I dropped the girls off and then the four of us made our way into town. My daughter was very nervous as this would be only the second time she has run farther than four miles, the first being four days prior. My son was excited. He was looking forward to getting a medal. I had to break it to him that he was in a "real" race where not everyone gets a medal, only if you place. He was okay with it, but still hoped he would make the top three of his age group. Continuing with my role as Debbie Downer, I told him that he would be competing against middle school kids so it is unlikely that he would place. (Welcome to life, kid. Get used to it. Mean Mommy!)
This year they had corrals so he and I lined up in the 9 minute mile group. He wanted to start at the front, but I told him that isn't the best strategy. Not only are you slowing the faster runners down, but it can be discouraging when they are passing you and leaving you in the dust. Been there, done that. We said hello to some people we knew, many of whom thought I was going to smoke this race. I have always won my age group in this race in the past, but this wasn't going to be a PR attempt. I was thrilled to pace my son to his first 5k finish.
Suddenly, we were off. We did the usual starting line shuffle. The kid wanted to zig zag past the crowd, but I advised him against it, explaining he would just be wasting energy. Now that I think about it, though, since a 5k is short relative to a marathon, maybe it's not that detrimental. He listened and we continued running comfortably. At one point, he wanted to experiment running with his feet kicking out to the sides instead of forward. Okay. We saw some neighbors along the course and waved hello. We hit the One Mile Marker at 9:40. This was unacceptable for the kid, he wanted to speed up. We accelerated slightly, but I reminded him that we didn't want to tire ourselves out too quickly. Our second mile was faster and before we knew it, we were at the turn around where the 10k runners kept forging ahead as we headed back to the finish. He kept looking out for kids his age and when he saw them, he sprinted past in hopes of getting a medal. We rounded the last corner with only a few hundred yards to the finish line. I told him we should run as fast as we could. He took off. I could see spectators pointing and cheering for him from the sidelines. We ran side by side and crossed the finish mat at 27:12. I thought we were 30 seconds faster because we didn't immediately hit the mat at the start. I was wrong. He got a little sick because of the all out sprint, but he was so happy and proud of himself, as was I. The timing company had two monitors outside their van where you typed in your name and it read your stats. This was new and cool.
We headed back to the finish line to wait for Pete and Sanibel. We saw the 10k winners cross which is always fun. The kid saw his friends and couldn't wait to talk about his accomplishment. This was the first time the kid ran over three miles without taking breaks. He kept going with energy to spare at the end. Children have so much heart when they compete. It was a blast to be able to watch him take it all in and experience his first "grown-up" race. Eventually, the other two arrived. We headed back home and I couldn't have been more pleased with the end result, even if I had PR'd (okay, well maybe a teeny, tiny bit more).
I could have sworn he was wearing