“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”
~ Dr. Suess
Me: Grace, want to do a 5K with me this Sunday?
Me again: Yeah, you do.
Grace: Okay, so do I have a choice?
Me: Not really. No.
Grace: Um. Sounds good?
Of course I wasn't going to force her to do it. But I knew it wouldn't take much to get her to jump on board with me as she likes to run and she usually game for the occasional 5k. Unless is starts at the crack of dawn. Then it's a hard "no". But this one, the Run For Our Heroes 5K, was starting at 9:00 and was only a few blocks away from our house. So, really, a no brainer. Personally, I've been itching to race some different and shorter distances since my last couple marathons and I much prefer to do these things with a buddy versus solo, so I was happy about the situation. As we got closer to race, the weather forecast was looking pretty grim. Cloudy, cold and windy. Of course, I said nothing to Grace about this because if both of us were tempted to bail it would not end well. Sunday morning when we got up it was in the high 30s. Not warm, but not terrible. We bundled up, hopped in the car (Grace was not interested in a warmup run over to the race despite my attempt to sell her on it) and made our way down to the start a little early because we needed to register. As instructed, I put both of us on the same form. The very friendly woman handed us two bibs and then Grace got back in the car to stay warm as I did a little run. I came back and got her about fifteen minutes later and told her that she really needed to get out and do a some running so her legs warmed up a bit, to which she agreed. As we walked back up to the road I noticed her shoes were knotted in a way I'd never seen before.
It's a technique she'd come up with herself, she told me. She double knotted the bows and then double knotted all four of the bunny ears as well. So, it ended up looking more like a lace ball, if you will. Bottom line, those babies were not coming untied. We jogged down the street a little and then after about two minutes Grace made it clear that that was all she needed. She was good to go. All righty then. We stretched and did some dynamics in an attempt to stay warm but then eventually had to go back to the car to get Grace a pair of gloves because her hands were numb.
Right around 9:00 we were standing by the start line with about three other people which was odd because the race was supposed to start at 9:00. Grace and I jogged back downhill to the beach to see what was up. I asked a police man if the race was starting at 9:30; maybe I'd gotten it wrong. But he was sure it was 9:00 and said things were just running behind. Finally, we heard the National Anthem start playing and then the race director got on the mic to say a few words about her event before sending everyone back up the hill to get things going. So much for our warm up. I think it was about 9:20 when she finally sent us off. I had asked Grace if she wanted to run with me but she ended up hooking up with her soccer buddy, Leila, so we decided to do our own things. Good luck! Have fun! I screamed. She smiled back and nodded. I was probably embarrassing her. Didn't care.
Given the late start and unexpected GO! from the woman in charge, I was not at all prepared to get moving. My music was not on and my watch was not on the right screen and I realized both of these too late, obviously. So, during that first quarter mile, I attempted to start both up, successfully getting the music to play but not able to start my timer because the screen is tiny and my hands were frozen. Oh well. I decided to just run hard and see how things unfolded. The start was uphill and I was very quickly uncomfortable. I was either running too fast or just struggling with the fast pace in general, which is more likely the case. I did my best to just settle in and fall in behind the people in front of me. We cruised through the streets of Winchester in multiple amoeba like loops and I attempted to power up the hills and work the downs as there were a lot of them. About 17 minutes later we were back on the road we'd started on and running down the final stretch. I'm not a 5K fan due to the pain factor but I do love how quick they are over. I had no idea what kind of time I was running since I hadn't had a watch going for the entire race but I could see the clock at the finish and ended up crossing right around 19:10 give or take a few seconds. Honestly, I'm not 100% sure on my final time and I can't find the race results nor do I really care. Leila's dad finished right in front of me and we exchanged thoughts as he thought the course might have been a little short. Though, as others rolled in, I heard a gal tell her partner that she'd logged 5.1K on her watch (she'd been measuring distance in kilometers), so who knows? And, again, who cares? I rolled back down the street with Leila's dad to find Grace and Leila so we could cheer them on as they finished. They were together and barreling down the final stretch, and I clapped and jumped up and down like an idiot as she finished. She came in right around 24:00 which was so awesome. Despite the cold, she'd worked up a sweat and when I got to her she was chugging water and inhaling a chocolatey granola bar. Got to refuel pronto, right? I never skip my cool down but for the first time, maybe ever, I knew there was no way it was happening. Grace and I were freezing. Coffee was calling. And I saw it as my mom duty to get us out of the cold and into the coffee shop. We did stop to check our times on the results page that was taped to the wall. Turns out, Grace wasn't even registered. She did have a number, but I'm guessing the timing company didn't see our two names on one sheet and overlooked her entry. I asked her if she wanted me to go say something to them about it. Nah, she said. She had peppermint mocha on the brain. I got it.
Leila's dad and I followed the girls back to our cars. We talked running and he let me know that most of his races are 200 miles or over. That's a not a typo. He flies over to Europe and runs up and over Mont Blonc and through the Alps for multiple hours. For fun. And you thought I was crazy. Grace and I went to Starbucks and got hot drinks and cake pops. Well, she got the cake pop. Yes, I am a total sucker.
But, she'd just run a 5k with me. And I wanted her to remember it, all of it, as a super fun experience so she'd do them with me more often. And if that involved bribing her with post-race sugary treats, than so be it. She was happy with sugar. I was happy with caffeine. We were happy to be together. It was a win for both of us.
I was hopeful that I'd started a trend and that she'd join me next time I raced. Yesterday, as she got out of the car for school, I asked her if she was down for round 2. Here's how our conversation played out this time:
Me: Want to do another 5K with me in December?
Grace: December??!! Is it indoor?
Grace: Sorry, Mom. I don't do cold. This last one was pushing it.
Me: We can bundle up.
Grace: I'll do it again in the spring. Promise
Alas, I might not have her as my partner in crime for a little while. But I'll be holding on to this experience as it was a special one. And the actual race itself had very little do with it.
Listen to this:
The Best - AWOLNATION