Saturday morning, I woke Jack up bright and early. "I want to keep on sleeping, Mommy," he told me, but when I reminded him that we were running a race, he perked right up. "It's raining today," I told him, "And some people don't like to run in the rain." Jack gave me a big grin and said, "But not us!" He was even more excited when he looked out the window and saw just how hard it was raining.
Rain or no rain, the race looked like a fun one. It started and finished at Niabi Zoo, and there was a whole morning of races for the two of us. First, a 5K for me, then a 1 mile family race that Jack and I planned to rock out with the jogger, then a 1/4 mile run for him. We got really cool long sleeved t-shirts in our swag bags, and Jack even got a stuffed giraffe. Score! My mom drove us there to act as race support- carry my jacket for me, hang out with Jack while I was running, and of course, cheer for us. Ever the dedicated fan, the rain didn't dampen her enthusiasm ever.
But then, a dark cloud covered all of the other dark clouds. I heard rumors circulating that only the 5K was on - all other races had been cancelled. I was beyond disappointed - I really did not need to run a 5K race two weeks before my marathon, and I had a little guy just dying to run a race.
I pulled Race Support Staff Mom aside and told her the news. We quickly formulated a plan: after I started running, she and Jack would find a spot near the finish line. Then, when I got to him, he'd join me and we'd cross the finish line together. We filled Jack in on the plan, and he was so excited about finishing the race with Mommy that I think he completely forgot about everything else.
As I started my race, I did my best to relax and run easy. No need to kill myself on what should be a fun run, after all. But I soon realized that there was only one woman in front of me. Crazy, right? For the first time in I don't know how long, I was poised to place, and to get an age group award for sure.
I also realized that scoring a trophy was nowhere near the most important thing on my mind. I was so excited to see my little guy and to finish the race with him.
Jack and Mom were waiting for me 100 meters or so from the finish. I called to Jack to join me... just as another woman passed me. Uncharacteristically, I let her go, finishing the race with Jack just behind me. As he ran, Jack waved at his throngs of adoring fans. Mom told me later that Jack had actually practiced running through the finish line a couple of times. The announcer cheered for Jack through his bullhorn as we finshed the race together.
I ended up chatting with the girl who passed me. She actually said, "Sorry about passing you at the end; I hate doing that." I was like, "Woman, please. It's a race," leaving out the fact that in this case, I didn't even try to catch her. We joked that everyone put their age group on their t-shirts, so as she passed me, I would have known she was only 29.
Meanwhile, Jack found the world's biggest puddles and had the time of his life splashing through them. My mom and I watched as he actually removed a boot, dumped out about a gallon of water, and resumed splashing. Another runner told Jack, "I don't think anybody out here is having more fun than you are today."
Perhaps not, but I have to say, I came close.
Overall place: 21
3rd place woman
1st place, women 30-34
Time: 25:14 For those of you keeping score, that's one second slower than my 5K PR. I am definitely getting stronger.