Tomorrow will mark a special day in the brief history of my running “career.” For the first time, I have convinced my 10-year-old son to join me at a local 10k race. He’s going to run the 1-mile “fun run” before I compete in the 10k Chattahoochee Challenge. Fittingly, the Hooch Challenge is the first organized race I ever competed in, three years ago.
The whole family is planning to come down to the start line. Like most runners, I run for myself. It’s my choice, my lifestyle, my challenge. However, I have always enjoyed it when my family is there at the finish line. It’s never fun crossing that line and having nobody there to greet you. Tomorrow it will be different. It will be better.
My son won’t win. He probably won’t even “run” the entire time over the 1-mile course. That’s fine. I’m just happy he is will to get out and try. I plan to encourage him and cheer for him at the finish. Nothing more.
I laid out all of his clothes for the race already. His race number — 310 — is sitting on a chair in his bedroom, ready to be pinned on. I know for a fact that I’m more excited about it than he is. That’s ok, too. I just have to make sure I don’t “push” him at all. I just want him to enjoy it and not have a bad experience.
As for myself, I know my son wants to see his dad “win” the race. He asks me after almost every race if I won or not. When I won my age group in a 10k earlier this year, he was really excited. At least it seemed that way to me. I’ve got a bit of a nagging calf injury that won’t allow me to race at my fastest tomorrow. I’m just hoping to keep the injury under control as I prepare for a 21-mile training run on Sunday.
But tomorrow isn’t about me or my running goals. It’s about family time and creating memories, something I never thought about when I first started running on a regular basis a few years ago.