I have decided that running with my kids is one of my favorite things. Their enthusiasm, their excitement, their heart are contagious. Kids have no idea how to pace themselves no matter how many times you tell them to start slow, how to hold back, how to “run a smart race.” They just go all out and at some point come gloriously crashing down.
So when the time came to register my kids for the annual Go the Distance 5K color run our school district does every year (in addition to a 24 hour running relay), I mostly enthusiastically did. My slight hesitation was in the $75 registration fees for my three older kids (gulp) and the uncertainty of their commitment to run on the day of the event. As the days got closer to the run, my middle son, AJ got more and more excited. He is my runner. He has been waiting for 3 years to do track. Next year is finally his year! My daughter (the almost 11 year old) started backtracking saying that none of her friends were going to do it anymore. She is my swimmer and an adamant non-runner. Logan (my 6 year old) was excited about it. This would be his very first 5K. Being outnumbered and still having a baby (okay, he’s 4 – technically not a baby), my husband and I gave up on strategy to get through things like running races with our kids long ago.
The run/race began and they were off. Carter (my 4 year old) and I watched as the powder color stuff exploded everywhere. I had a brief flash forward to my future laundry night ahead of me. I am confident that a mom did not think of things like color runs. As I’m finally sitting down to write this three days later (I’m finally posting this a week and a half after that…sigh), I am still finding that horrible powder stuff in my house. My kids were somewhere in the pack and off on their adventure. That’s when I started to mom-panic. Thoughts like, ‘I should be with Logan. He’s never going to make it. He never found his friends and now he’s going to be all alone crying while everyone runs over him.’ These were the visions I had in my head as I ran (while dragging Carter) to our first viewing spot. By the time I made it to our station, I had missed AJ. Bummer. I managed to see Lilly and her friends – she ended up having a bunch of friends run the race. They were exuberant and having a great time, as only pre-teen girls can. Ok, I don’t have to worry about the older two. Whew! But where was Logan? Panic began creeping in again. Then I finally saw him. He was over the moon happy and smiling and had found a friend. Whew! Whew! A quick wave and off to our second viewing spot.
I made it to see AJ who was running with his buddy Owen. I wish I had gotten a picture or even better, a video. They were clipping along, in sync with one another and focused. I mean, I didn’t even get a wave. Lilly and her friends, on the other hand, stopped and posed for a picture and even wanted to look at it! Hilarious! My husband had found Logan and was now running with him. I waited for them and Carter and I hopped on the course with them for a few minutes. When I hopped off – I wanted to see my olders finish, Carter wanted to stay with Daddy! My baby wanted to run. So I let him go and off they went.
Watching them finish was beyond thrilling. To see my little peeps achieve something in their own way through running – something that I love – was so touching. To see our community come together to support our schools and kids through running fills me with incredible gratitude. What a great event for our community and my family. Even if I’m STILL cleaning up after it.