Thursday, June 21, 2012

4 Miles of Bliss......The "Sequel"!



I know, the picture above is not very high quality, however, I wanted to get this blog out while this past weekend was fresh in my mind - this picture captures the whole day so well I had to put it on, even before I get the official download which will be much higher quality.

If you follow my blog, you will remember my son, Ryan, and I competed in his first running race last June:  The Father's Day 4 Miler at Braves Stadium, it was totally and completely awesome!  So awesome, in fact, we decided to do it again this year - his first "repeat" race.  Those of you that are runners, triathletes, etc. know that this is a double-edged sword - on the one hand, you know what to expect, so you can prepare.  On the other hand, you know what to expect, and this can cause worry and anxiety!

My son has a very, very good memory (much better than mine - I tend to have a "selective" memory, especially when it comes to the difficulty of races) and so he remembered that this was not a flat course and running 4 miles, without walking, hiking, stopping to look at turtles, is NOT easy!  On top of this, we were not able to get in as much training this year as last year - various reasons - which added to his (and my) anxiety leading up to race day.

On Friday night, he had to go to bed when I do (I have been going to bed between 8:30-9:30pm lately and he has been staying up till midnight - gotta love the summer) cause we had a 6am wake up call!  Went in to wake him up Saturday morning and he was tired:  told me he was nervous and couldn't sleep very well - I told him this was a good sign.  We learned our lesson with the barfing incident at his first trail race - eating a banana and drinking a G2 30 minutes before the race works well with my 49 year old gut, not so much with his small stomach -- so we had him eat a small energy bar at 6:30am (a full hour before race start) and just sip on G2 for the next hour - this was PERFECT pre-race nutrition for a 10 year old, btw, he did great with his stomach, hydration, etc.!

The drive down to the race site was a blast, Ryan is normally the quieter of my 2 children, especially in the car, but this time he never, ever stopped talking - at one point he actually asked, "do you think I am bit nervous, I am talking a lot!" 

I left plenty of time to get to the start and get our numbers, too much time in fact. I don't think I have ever had so much down time before a race started - it was fun at first, sparked a cool discussion about the relativity of time, but we were both ready and anxious to get started so I won't get there so early next time!   As we warmed up, did drills and stretched, Ryan came up with a little song "2 minute run, 2 minute run" -- not much to it but it was good foreshadowing for the race and I think he learned how great it is to have a "mantra" in a competition!  

The race started and he took off, much slower than his last race (puking after 1 mile of all out sprinting taught him a valuable lesson about pacing :-) and he was still singing, "2 minute run, 2 minute run" and I realize this could be another good teaching opportunity:  having a solid "mantra" and breaking down goals into smaller segments.  So, last year the race took us a little over 40 minutes, we estimated that we only had "20ish - 2 minute runs" to the finish - we actually counted them down for a while to help pass the time and help us realize we were getting closer to our goal.  

As the race progressed, Ryan got a bit less "chatty" (hills will do that to you) however, at one point we were climbing the toughest hill on the course and we went by 2 ladies who were slowing down and struggling a bit and they commented on how strong he looked. He responded with -- and I paraphrase --  "Thank this the first time you are doing this race?  We did it last year and it gets easier after this.....You guys are doing awesome, keep it up" - a natural coach/trainer in the making!  I just loved that, in the middle of his suffering, he was able to get outside of himself and motivate and encourage other human beings - he is an amazing kid!  Because of our better start, he was able to run the whole way this year, no walking AT ALL - we were both very happy and proud of this achievement!

When we got close to the finish, both of us remembered how he out sprinted me last year and I was ready for him this year.  He started his sprint early so I thought I had him but as I pulled up on him, he switched into another gear I didn't think he had and beat me by a foot (if you can see in the picture, this is during the sprint and he is looking back to see where I am before he makes his 2nd effort).  Great race, overall time was a bit slower than last year, but mostly because we went so slow in the first mile (his miles were 12min, 11, 11 and then.....9 - just the way I like to race!)  He ended up 3rd place in the 10 year olds and was very happy, tired, sore and hungry at the end - everything we love about running races!

Included in the race entry were tickets to the Braves game that night, we brought Hana and had a fantastic time and then an absolutely wonderful Father's day the next day - I am truly blessed to be able to do this with my son - next up, Hana for her first race!!!!!!

Until next time,,