Friday, November 23, 2012

My Slowest 5K Ever Was Also My Personal Best

Wife and daughter during the first lap.
Thanksgiving Day 2012 I woke up my just-turned-five daughter, fixed her breakfast and asked her if she was excited about her first 5K race coming up that day. The Great Turkey 5K in Bowling Green 2010 was my first, and now she wanted to run a 5K. She had run several half mile races and a single full mile race, but had never run even two miles before.

Once she got her bib, she was so excited she couldn't stop bouncing until the race started. She ran and laughed and ran backwards. Her mother and I jogged next to her, grinning ear to ear. She wound up running about a mile and a half before she settled into a walk. At about 1 and 3/4 miles she was convinced she couldn't go any further. She kept going (with coaxing, encouraging, and bribing from her Daddy (including sport jelly beans) she made it to two miles. I ran ahead to get the jogging stroller and ran her to mile three where she got out of the stroller and ran to the finish finishing in around 50 minutes.

Still running, still smiling.

If I were running by myself, I could have watched an episode of "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" on Netflix, then started running and I would have finished faster. The idea for this race though, was not for me to race, but for my little girl to get to try her hand at a 5K.

Seeing her smile and sprint to the finish line is what it was all about.

I also got a bonus experience at this race.

Feeling totally done at mile two.

I have often noted that the people that I find the most inspirational at these events are not the people at the front of the pack, not the guys who finish in around 16 minutes, but the people who struggle to finish at all. The people who get out there and put the same percentage effort I put in to a race except they do it for twice as long are the ones that make me excited about fitness. To see those ladies and gentlemen coming to the finish line of their first 5K to see them reaping the rewards of a fitness program they recently started, that is what makes me want to jump up and cheer.

Thanks to my darling little girl I got to run with those guys and girls that morning.

Keep putting one foot in front of another everybody.