My children love to run. If they have a choice between running somewhere and walking somewhere, they will always choose running. They must have inherited that trait from their father, a marathon runner. I don’t hate running. Not at all. I just don’t do it anymore unless someone is chasing me. Lately, I am getting chased quite a bit. My kids’ have adopted freeze tag as their favorite game. They play it at least 3 times a day, I am usually roped into playing at least one of those times. I am a good sport, but I must admit that I enjoy being tagged so I can stop running and stand still for just a moment.
A few weeks ago, I saw a Kids’ Fun Run advertised. I knew this would be a new experience both Luke and Leah would enjoy. I prepped them for the fun run by explaining that I have run in many races in my lifetime and have never won any of them. My children often come to the bootcamp class I attend three times a week, so they see me exercising all the time. Luke said, “Yeah, I didn’t think you ever won a race. Miss Erin and Miss Janet are way faster than you!” Great. I try to give my kids a pep talk, and they insult me. However, the rest of the talk went well, and they understood we were not trying to win the race. We were just out to have fun.
When we arrived at the race course, my children were excited to begin. I thought they might be anxious about their first race, but they did not appear nervous at all. They just wanted to get started. We had about 20 minutes until the race began. So, how did my children kill time? They ran. They chased each other up and down the grassy lawn. They played tag, freeze tag, and a new one called Zombie tag. I tried to tell them that they might want to consider saving their energy for the race, but that suggestion was completely ignored. All was well until they collided and both fell on the ground. I could see the tears in Leah’s eyes when she stood up after the fall, but luckily, she was distracted by a woman on a bullhorn who was announcing the start of the race. Leah forgot that she had fallen and practically sprinted to the starting line.
The races were separated by age, so Luke and Leah did not compete against each other. Each race was fairly uneventful, and surprisingly, both of my children had enough energy to compete. Leah ran the last 10 feet with her arm outstretched, ready to claim her ribbon from the volunteers at the finish line. Luke ran fast, but probably lost a little time while looking around as he ran. I think he enjoyed hearing the people on the sidelines cheering and clapping. He just wanted to soak it all in.
Neither of my children won their heat, but they were both beaming with pride as we walked back to the car holding their race bags and ribbons. Luke had many questions. He wanted to know if the race was 2 or 3 miles. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was only about 40 yards long. He knew that there were a few kids who crossed the finish line before him, but he wanted to know how many people he beat. I told him the truth. I didn’t even see the other kids running. I couldn’t take my eyes off my own beautiful children. They each ran with combination of joy and concentration on their face, and I wasn’t about to miss such a moment.