Thursday, June 30, 2011

4 Miles of Pure Bliss!

A picture is worth.............priceless!

6/18/2011: What a great day!  My son, Ryan, and I ran his first “real” race today (he has done 3 fun runs, 1-1.5 miles each) but this was the first real deal – 4 miles long, training program from Dad for 4 weeks leading up to race, hilly course, race number, sign up, get up early, the whole deal.  Back up a bit and let you all know, I have been very careful about not pushing my hobby, sport, addiction, spiritual quest on my kids, the last thing I want to do is have them feel like they were forced to do something just cause I love it, I see that with so many parents and I know it just ends up badly – the kids don’t only end up not wanting to compete or play the sport, they actually end up having bad memories associated with it.  I waited until he started to show some interest and, this helped a lot, he got a lot of positive comments from his baseball coaches on how fast he could run and how effortless it looks when he runs laps!   I asked him if he was interested in training for and doing a race and he jumped on it – we searched around and settled on the “Father’s Day 4 Miler” which sounded pretty cool – start and finish at Turner Field (where the Atlanta Braves play) and get tickets to today's baseball game included – fun!  The process of watching him train and progress as a runner was really fun, 2 months ago he was doing a .5 mile run followed by a .5 mile walk, for a total of 1.5 – 2 miles and today he ran almost the whole way (a very hilly course) for 4 miles, in 41 minutes.

Talk about a blessing from God, to see him jump out of bed at 6am cause he was “so excited and nervous I couldn’t sleep” and have a huge smile on his face when he saw 2000 other people lining up to race with him was amazing!  God was with us and gave us a cool, overcast morning and he gave us both peace in our hearts to be in the moment the whole time together.  I was so focused on making sure he was OK and doing well, I had no time to think about myself, work, my marriage – nothing but the moment.  An interesting gift to be able to be in the moment running with someone else, I suppose God gives you that ability when it is with someone you love more than life itself!  I am so proud of my boy, he ran with heart and joy, sprinted the end to beat dad and ended up being the fastest 9 year old in the whole race!  We treated him (and his 6 year old sister, of course, for being a great spectator and getting up so early to watch her brother) to donuts after the race and are looking forward to the game later today!

I think the coolest thing is I have never really had any expectations that Ryan or Hana would “follow in my footsteps” and I really still don’t, if he never decides to do another race I will be fine with that.  It was just such a gift from God to be able to spend time with him training (we have run a lot before, he really does love the trails but more to hike and look for bugs and turtles than to run) and doing an actual competition.  This is just a good day all around and the start of an amazing Father’s Day weekend!  Another example of the things in life that really matter are not material and don’t cost a whole lot!

PS – another thing this race did is make me remember why I don’t miss road running.  Expensive for such a short race, virtually no aid on the course (one water stop), tons of people, long lines, Nazi people telling you where you can and cannot walk, park etc.  and crappy food afterwards.  Exactly the opposite of trail runs and especially ultras!  Please don’t let my new sport get any more popular!

Blessings to all until next time,