It’s Not Always the Race that Matters

On Sunday, the boys and I headed to Burlington for the Sweetheart’s 5K. When I initially registered, I hoped to be competitive; after hurting my back, I just wanted to run it. On race day, though, the competitive edge kicked in and, even though I had only run once in two weeks, I was prepared to push and try to place.

When we arrived at the venue, #1 and I headed in to pick up my race kit while Daddy stayed in the car with #2, who was having a precious but cantankerous moment. He was at a race, he reasoned, so he should be allowed to wear just a t-shirt with his pants – despite the 10 below temperatures. Seeing the elite men in their capri-style tights was not helping to convince him otherwise.

Meanwhile, #1 stood in the gym with me, eyeing the big waterslide.

“Let’s get Daddy to take you boys home to get towels and swimsuits,” I suggested, and I bravely told him where to find mine.

By the time I finished the race, the boys were back – and #2 was now upset that he didn’t get a chance to run. So, off the two of us went, down the hill and back up to the finish so that he could also get his race in.

Despite an overall 7th place (and 2nd Master) finish, I didn’t want my cheerleaders to hang around for the awards; it made much more sense for them to be playing in the water. So, after eating their 2 slices of pizza (okay, it was really my pizza, but I’m lactose intolerant and they needed to eat), they headed to the pool. I joined them after, but I headed straight for the whirlpool.

As soon as #2 spotted me, he headed towards the whirlpool and sat down, feet in the water. Shortly after, three of the top male runners joined us, to be followed by 2 girlfriends. Listening to them talk about their times (a 15:15-5K) and going to the World’s, which I learned were right after the Nationals, I realized that I was sitting with very elite runners. Yes, I sat with 20 something year old men on the National team – with my 4 year old right beside me and my husband and other son in eyeshot.

Once the lifeguard returned, my two boys and I headed up the waterslide. The laughter and squeals of delight from them were an open invitation for the leads to join us. After a few trips back up the slide, I heard, “Man, he’s fast. That was 8’30”. I’m just hoping to break 10 seconds.” Yes, these guys were truly competitive. Not only are they racing for first place finishes on the road, but they are also vying to be the fastest down the water slide.

The event was a fabulous outing for the family. I got to race (as did #2), the boys ate pizza, we played in the pool and on the waterslide, and I got to sit in the whirlpool with a few National Team runners. Some days, life is really good.

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