Monday, January 31, 2011

The Race

Good morning on this fine, fine, drizzly Monday!  Apparently our scattered showers are nothing when considered in relation to the whopper of a storm headed to a huge swath of the country today.  Yikes and a half!  Anyway, I thought a little anecdote from this weekend might amuse you.
My 4-year-old son Bear has been really into running lately... just short fun races of course.  He knows I run, and he loves to run around our nearby trails, which is what got this started.  Of course he’s not “training" or anything, and we only sign him up for races when he asks.
A few weeks back, Bear started bugging me to sign him up for another race, so this past Saturday he and I did a 1 mile "fun run" near home. Based on Bear’s reaction to not winning prior races (of course he’s not going to win… he’s usually the smallest, youngest runner out there!), we had long pep talks almost every day for the last 2 weeks, then again during the drive to the race , and even during the race itself.
I very cheerily told Bear leading up to this, and even while we ran, that there was no way we were going to win.  I gave him this news happily, talked to him about how I never win my own races and that it’s about finishing not winning, yadda yadda. We agreed (I thought) that we needed to either decide to have fun no matter what or not to run, and he was all into it, big smiles, looking around, having a blast. He seemed particularly pleased because we learned at the starting line that finishers would get medals. Hurray!
Not actual medal, not actual size.
We had gone almost the full mile and were rounding the corner toward the finish line -- mind you, we were far back in the field but were not last at this point by any means -- being cheered on by a group of teenage girls and some older kids who had already finished the race, and we had no more than 100 yards to go, when Bear collapsed (deliberately) in a crying heap, wailing that, "I'm not going to win!" and "I won't get a medal!" and all this sort of thing. Bear would not budge, not even with all sorts of cajoling from me and the girls and a sweet kid named Chris who couldn't have been more than 11 years old. Bear wouldn't let me carry him to the finish line... if I tried to pick him up, he turned to spaghetti, crying the whole time.  The one time I did manage to lift him and carry him for a few yards, he wriggled out of my arms and scurried back to his crying spot.  I was flummoxed.
It took Bear and me maybe 13 or 14 minutes to run most of the mile-long course and another 10 minutes to get the last 100 yards, but finally Bear walked (reluctantly) that last bit on his own and collapsed again ON the finish line where he lay on his back, crying at the sky for another 2 minutes or so. A short while later, Bear bawled that he couldn't find this Chris kid to thank him for convincing him to finish and coming with us the whole, tedious, grudging way from the crying spot to the finish line... my adjectives, not Bear’s.
We have not had a "clean" race yet, but he keeps saying they're so much fun. ?!?!?!?!?
Have a great week, my friends!

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