Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jacob's first 5K

A couple of months ago, after my half marathon and his own kids' marathon, Jacob started to show some interest in running races with me. We have some good friends with a little boy a year old than Jacob who regularly runs 5Ks and 10Ks with his parents, and he loves it. With most of these races, there aren't many kids running, so the chances are great that a child can place in the top 5 in his age group by simply finishing the race.

Anyway, I can't think of a better, healthier or more fun family activity, so I told Jacob that I thought that was a great idea, and we could start training immediately for the Zoo Run in mid-May. He was very excited. I told him that he shouldn't expect it to be easy all the time, and he couldn't get frustrated when it wasn't -- he had to understand that he would have to work up to doing the full three miles. But Jacob runs regularly in PE class and I knew he could do a mile; plus, he's a 7 year old boy, so I'm pretty sure if I tallied up all the laps he runs around the house each day, it would equal about 3 miles a day. So I was pretty sure that he'd be able to cover the distance without much trouble.

For our first training run in late March, we went to the Jemison Trail. I told him we'd start with a mile and then see how we felt. But he didn't want to stop, and before we knew it, we finished the 3.4 mile loop with just a couple of very short walking intervals. He was rightfully proud of himself and bubbling with excitement about our run, and I was very pleased that our training was off to such a great start.

And then . . . Jacob never wanted to run with me again. Whenever I asked him to join me he'd say "we'll do it tomorrow," or "can we just go after school this week?" -- pretty much one excuse after another not to join me. I told him that it didn't matter to me if he ran with me or not, but if he wanted to run in the race, he had to run with me sometimes. I also used charts and graphs to explain the runner's paradox:

Percentage of time I want to go running before heading out door -- 0%
Percentage of time I'm really, really glad I went running after run is over - 100%

So I dragged him out for one more short run before the race, and he was less than enthusiastic about it. And then it was race day.

And he did great! We took our time, walked the (numerous, for such a short race) water stations, and finished in a leisurely 34 minutes. I think that is a great "first race" time for Jacob, because if he wants to keep doing these races, I expect that he'll be able to shave off minutes from that time in fairly short order, which he will love. I think we'll hang up our racing shoes for the summer (too hot for mama), but I'll check in with him again to see if he wants to start up again when the fall race season begins. We had a lot of fun together, and I'd love if we can do some more!

Here we are at the finish line. David tried to get a picture of just Jacob and me, but Caroline would not get out of the picture. She was really offended that I ran right by her at the finish line and just waved without stopping to pick her up (because I was trying to get to the finish line and all). Between that and the fact that the Chick-Fil-A cow was roaming around on two legs high-fiving the crowd, girlfriend was a mess, and she was not about to gracefully step aside so we could get a runners-only picture.

It was a very fun day, and I'm proud of my boy!