Okay, I’m going to tell you right off the bat, there was no pie at the pie race. I don’t know what happened, but no pie. This being said, we didn’t notice there was no pie until we were getting in the car to go back to Sarah’s. I’m not sure we would have eaten pie had it been offered to us.
Sarah was the most mentally prepared of the three of us. She had a carefully selected music mix. She was more than adequately hydrated. She brought the largest cheering section of anyone at the race. She did great. It was super fun to have her out there with us.
The runners at this small but very well organized race were serious. I mean dead serious. I mean they ran to the race and then ran a few more miles after. I mean the first guy came in at 17 minutes. Do the math. He was running under 6 minute miles through the bluffs.* The gun went off and after 4 or 5 blocks I had lost my breath and couldn’t get it back. “How fast are we running?” I wondered. Just then Brent came on with a message through my headset, “You are running at a terrific ____ pace.” In that blank was a number faster than I have yet run. A number I knew I could not maintain and I slowed down. I was at the dead back of the runner pack. Grandmas and small children were out in front of me, and they stayed out in front of me for the duration of the race. I eventually passed a mom running with a 4 or 5 year old and a great-grandpa-type guy. That’s it.
Colin was directly behind me for most of the race heaving and panting in a way unbecoming for a nearly 14 year old who should have been able to run that race without breaking a sweat. Looking at the picture now, I see he didn’t really break a sweat. He kept limping along clutching his side asking how much further. I was a little exasperated by the time we reached mile 2.5. “Col, stop and walk if you need to. Just don’t pass out,” I kept shouting over my shoulder. I wanted to keep pressing on, but I had a vision of him collapsing and great-grandpa-type guy behind us picking him up and carrying him to the finish line while I kept racing along shouting, “Can’t stop!! Been training!!!” In my vision Family Court Services would be waiting on the doorstep when we got home.
So he and I went along like this until we turned the corner and could see the finish line. “There’s the finish line, Col. Remember, don’t stop! We have to run through the chute!!!”
“What??” he cried out. “I’m too nervous! I don’t think I can!”
“Yes! Yes, you can!!! You’ve made it this far!!!”
And my dear son, who had been near to death for 3.0 miles, who huffed and puffed and clutched his side said, “Okay.” And he sprinted that last.1 mile beating me by a full city block.
Sometimes there is such a fine line in parenting between pride and exasperation.
* Remember how Coach Sam was concerned we’d be doing bluff running and I assured him there would be no such thing?? I was wrong, he was right. That’s why he is the coach.