It was D's first ever 5k (3.1 miles). Up until yesterday, his longest run had been 1 mile. Over the past 18 months or so, he has run in several kid's 1 mile races, but never anything as big as a 5k. I was so excited to sign him up and to run it with him. I was worried about how it would go in terms of running WITH him. D is a fast runner, much faster than me. His last race he pulled in around an 8 minute mile; I, on the other hand, am about an 11 minute miler. But I have endurance, and while I'm slow I can complete half marathons. He has NO endurance past a mile. I was curious how this race was going to go!
My mother was visiting us for the week, and she stayed home with our daughter, A. We left early for downtown San Diego, not knowing how the parking situation would be. As luck would have it, we easily found a parking spot and made it to the race site. We hooked up with my friend, T, and his two sons, who were also running the 5k. At one point, T looked down at J's shoes and asked why he wasn't wearing his timing chip. I looked down and--oh my goodness--I had put the WRONG PART OF THE D-RING ON HIS SHOE! It's supposed to look like this and I had accidentally put the INSTRUCTIONS part on his shoe, not the actual timing chip. Worse yet, I had done the same with D's and my own timing chips! I was so embarrassed, absolutely humiliated--I mean, I'm hardly a novice racer! In fact, just this past year I put on FIVE of these timing chips in different half marathons! My only excuse was that I was exhausted when I put them on, so early in the morning (yet another reason to get things ready the day before). Luckily, the situation was easily remedied; we were able to go to the "help" table and get new bibs and timing chips.
Finally, after much waiting around, our race started (the 10k had started an hour before our 5k). I kept telling D to pace himself, that this distance was unknown territory for him, and that he needed to save energy for the whole race. Whenever he would start to pull ahead of me, I would have him slow down and run with me. The first mile or so, he did great! He ran pretty consistently, with a big grin on his face. Soon after that, he wanted to take a few walk breaks. I waved J on ahead of us; I wanted him to run his own race, to get the best 5k time he could get. I wasn't in this for a good "time" in terms of how fast I did it; rather I was in it for a GOOD TIME with my son. From mile 1-2 he alternated running with lots of walk breaks.
At mile 2, he was beat. He told me he was tired. We walked most of that mile. I tried to teach him the meaning of the phrase "dig deep", how he needed to dig deep inside himself to finish that last mile. I told him that his body may say no, but his brain needs to be stronger. That his body will always tell him it's time to quit, but that his mind needs to overpower it and make him perservere. I said him that this was his first 5k, and that whatever his time was would be a PR (personal record for him). I told him that we could train together, so
when he does another 5k he would be more prepared for it and would smash this time. He heard me tell him all of this, but gosh was he beat. When I told him to dig deep, he told me he only had a few drops left. Such a cutie!
Finally, my Garmin beeped that we were at the 3 mile mark. I had told him that when he heard the beep, there would be only .10 miles left, and that we were going to run it in together. And so we did! At the end, there were lots of people on the side cheering, and I think that (and the fact that the finish line was clearly visible) gave D energy. We saw J waiting for us right at the finish line (he had finished about 4 minutes ahead of us) looking so proud. The best part is that D and I crossed the finish line together, holding hands.
I am so proud of him! I hope this is the first of many races we will do together. I usually don't do 5ks (in fact, I hate them, preferring to spend my money instead on half marathons) but for him I'll delightedly make an exception!