Once upon a time, five years ago, I registered for my very first 5K. It was crazy and amazing and hard.
And I was pretty much immediately hooked.
The Florida Striders Memorial Day 5K holds a very special place in my heart. As my first ever race, it remains a reminder of my ebbs and flows and progress and failures.
I have made it a point to take part in this race consistently since my first time in 2013. It’s gotten to a point where it wouldn’t be the start of summer without it. The cause is also a worthy one, and a reason why this race draws so many runners. It’s always beautiful to see all the flags and red, white and blue.
I had every intention of running alone this year. It’s a small, local race, and I didn’t think the boys would have any interest in getting up crazy early to spectate. Little man told me that he was interested in running the 5K, so we signed up him and Mr PugRunner, with the intention that they would run together.
The night before the race, little man decided he wanted to run with me instead of his dad. I really wanted to push myself for this 5K, but I also feel strongly about encouraging little man’s efforts, so I made the mental adjustments.
We arrived with plenty of time to pick up our packets, drop our shirts back in the car, visit the portapotties and line up at the start. This race always attracts a lot of day of registrants and the final headcount is always rather impressive.
There was a beautiful speech, honoring those who have fallen in service to our country, and after the National Anthem, the race began.
Unfortunately, we had a tough run. It was crazy hot, absurdly humid, and little man’s enthusiasm waned dramatically in the first half mile. It was a huge challenge to keep him motivated through the rest of the race, and I’m not so sure I did a great job of it. I know that he just wanted to be done (so did I), but it was really tough staying positive through it.
With just over a half mile to go, I saw Mr PugRunner starting to catch up to us and told little man that I wanted to finish strong. I figured he would run in with his dad, but shockingly, he found a second wind.
The last few minutes made for the highlight of the whole race. We got separated by a few other runners, knotting up in a big group, so I started calling out directions to him to keep him on track to the finish line. Another racer saw him getting edged to the side, and reached over to guide him back to the course. The gentleman was kind enough to stay with him while I got myself around the crowd, and urged him to a really strong finish. It was so thoughtful and kind and I got a little teary-eyed about it.
Sometimes I’m a sap. Although I think I was just really relieved to be finished.
There were lessons to be learned. Little man definitely should have had a banana or something a little closer to the race start. He was hydrated well, but might have needed a little more energy. I need to be more patient.
On the positive side, I love these guys so much. I adore that they support me in my activities, even if they would rather have been in bed instead of grinding it out on a race course.
How do you handle a race that falls apart quickly?
Has a stranger ever helped you when you’re struggling?
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home says
Great job to your son on digging deep and finishing!! That’s what it’s all about.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…5 Reasons and 6 Tips to be More Mindful on the Run
Kimberly Hatting says
Sounds like a strong finish made for a great day! That finish is tough, especially when the previous miles suck LOL
Kimberly Hatting recently posted…Grandma’s Marathon 2017
Stacie Seidman says
What a nice guy to help out little man! I think cheers from the crowd or encouragement from another runner are HUGELY motivating. That’s what I love most about running. It’s a really supportive sport.
Stacie Seidman recently posted…What’s Up Wednesday
It really is, and it’s probably the reason why I’ve stuck with it so long. The support is everything.
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner says
ha lots of my races fall apart quickly lol. The heat is really an energy zapper. He looks great running through the finish
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner recently posted…What To Do When You Get Your Period On Race Day
He did look great at the finish! I don’t know where it came from!
With the weather here, I feel like some runs are over before they even begin. I like to pretend we get used to it, but I don’t know if we ever really do.
What a wonderful recap. I’ve struggled with my own goals v. encouraging my kids before. It’s tough. On the one hand, you really want to do your thing. But on the other, this is a lifelong sport and you want your kids and family to enjoy it as much as you do. So I totally get that.
And how awesome that another runner helped you guys out and you had a great finish. That would bring tears to my eyes, too!
Great job. 🙂
Rachel recently posted…Race Review: Grandma’s Marathon 2017
I just kept repeating to myself “don’t be that mom; don’t be that mom” but I just couldn’t find the currency to get him to move. And I totally felt like “that mom” the whole time. Ugh. We are doing a 5k together in a few weeks, so I’m hoping we can have a more positive conclusion. I have no goal for that race, other than to stick to Mr PugRunner’s comfort level, so I will probably be a lot more chill.
And yes, that runner saved our day. Sometimes it just takes one person out of the situation to turn it all around. He was my person that day.
Mary Beth Jackson says
I love the pic! What a family experience- it is all good! Everyone made it to the finish line- success!
Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Running around Winter Haven
We barely made it to the finish LOL! I thought I was just going to have to sit down and have myself a cry.
Kimberly G says
It’s amazing how we sign up for a race, thinking nothing of it, and then we get hooked! That’s what happened to me too, lol
How awesome of that other runner to help out in the end! That’s what I love about running – the people are just awesome!
Kimberly G recently posted…My Favorite Marathon Training Products
Who knew? I used to think running was to get away from bears or terrifying clowns. Now I’m paying to do it! What?
I love the running community so hard.