It was a cool and drizzly day as I made the turn onto Water St. I had been thinking about this day for the better part of five months now… and it was finally here.
It had been over 30 years since I had last done this. I was a little bit apprehensive to be honest… I wasn’t sure I could do it again. But I did have my son with me this time so I was counting on him to help me through.
As I approached Waterfront Park the street was closed. That wasn’t so unusual right now as they have half the streets in town closed for some major water / sewer upgrade or something. In any case, it forced me to have to drive around another way to get to my destination. As I made the turn to get over to Charles Creek, I started seeing people in running shorts with numbers pinned to their chests.
Are you kidding me?!?!? This can’t be happening! The one day in over 30 years that I decided to come do a run I use to do in high school, someone is having a running event over basically the same course! My son looks at me and started laughing and said, “Well, I guess we are going to have some company today.” It made me laugh too.
So we get parked and get out and start stretching (funny how I never did that when I was younger but I’ll die now if I don’t do it). About the time we were getting ready to start the race started and several hundred people started out on the run ahead of us.
This run started out just like every other run does for me these days… with my overwhelming desire to stop in the first 100 yards. The excuses start running through my head… my foot hurts… my side hurts….. my sinuses are keeping me from breathing properly… I think I left the car running… any excuse I can possibly come up with. But I did keep pushing along. And as I we got into a rhythm and I started pointing out houses where my friends lived and areas where all kinds of shenanigans took place, all the pains left and I remember the car was in fact not left running.
And so we ran from Charles Creek Park out around the loop at Winslow Acres and started on the return trip. All was going well but as we passed the 3.5 mile mark fatigue really started setting in. I could tell I was in trouble. This run is over 5 miles long and we still had a long way to go. The steps got more and more difficult but my son kept talking to me. Distracting me with conversation about anything but running. We were closing in on the 5 mile mark and I was done… I just couldn’t go any more.
My son said, “Come on dad… let’s just get down to this next intersection, then we can walk some.” When we go to the intersection and we turned the corner he said, “Look, it’s two blocks, one turn and a straight shot back. Let’s just keep going to the last turn.”
And so we made the turn and headed down the last straight quarter mile or so. It was as if he knew if he could get me to where I could visualize the goal, that I would be okay… and I was. We actually picked up the pace a little bit in that last part of the run… we finished strong.
It is nice to be at a point in my life where I can lean on my son to carry me a little bit now. I would have never made it without him. It’s funny how I reflect on all the bright, sunny, crisp days that I made that run alone and how wonderful they all were and how great I felt when I finished them… I have cherished the memory of those runs for years… but now they all pale in comparison to this new memory. Maybe I won’t wait another 30 years to do it again…