This year one of my favorite racing events, the Carlsbad 5000 fell on my oldest son’s birthday weekend. This was perfect, since he had been asking me for a while to do a race and get his own medal. An ideal opportunity for a Mommy/Son race weekend!
Let me back up here just a touch, and share something that happened in the week leading up to this, which confirmed how much a child can look up to and want to mirror their parents.
Owen had asked to go for a run one evening, so I put Liam in the jogging stroller getting ready. From out in the garage, I could hear what sounded like a tantrum happening. Owen was upset about something inside the house. When I came in, he was mad over not being able to find one of his hats. He could only find one of Liam’s, which was too small for him, and when I told him that he got angry and started crying. This started to frustrate me, because I felt he was overreacting a bit over it, and he continued to carry on while I helped him look for one. We finally found one, and I was irritated as we started down the driveway. I told him it’s not okay to behave like that, and that he needs to ask for help before getting so worked up. As we walked down the street, he wiped a tear off his face and looked up at me, and in quiet little voice said, “I just wanted to wear my hat for my run like you always do, Mom.”
Cue a sea of tears. Who was the big baby now?! That was like a little poke to the heart. I hugged him tight, and right then, I knew how special of a weekend this would be for us.
I read somewhere once “Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate.” It had me thinking in that moment, as our feet hit the pavement side by side, that him seeing my passion for running may eventually spill over to him. I know he may never love it in the way that I do, but maybe he’ll find the same enthusiasm in a sport someday, and apply that never give up attitude. That’s my wish for him.
His birthday was the day before the race on Friday, so I picked him up after school and we headed down to his first race expo.
They had a balloon artist there doing free balloon animals for any kids running the race, which was cute.
We were in and out pretty quickly, as we wanted to get out for his birthday dinner. I mean, we needed to do some serious carb-loading; he needed the FULL race experience.
And of course there had to be dessert!
And no, he did not eat that whole thing. In fact, he and Liam and I all shared that, and the 3 of us couldn’t get it done – our worst relay effort yet.
After that, it was off to bed. The kids and I were exhausted. Owen had been fighting a cough the whole week prior, and Liam was in the process of coming down with it. All three of us were actually in bed by 7:45pm, but not before getting Owen’s flat runner ready for the morning.
The Junior races go in age waves, just like the adult races of the Carlsbad 5000 do, so in the morning we weren’t rushed as Owen’s wave didn’t run until 9:20am. They slept till 7:15am, which is later than I have ever gotten to sleep in on a race morning.
He was so excited when we arrived – jumping around and dancing everywhere.
Being that he just turned 6 years old, that put him in the 1/2 mile distance (7 years and up run 1 mile), and the younger ages do 1/4 mile, or there is even a Diaper Dash/Crawl – so it really is a fun event for the WHOLE family.
I was soaking in the energy from all the kids, so much laughter and excitement – it was infectious!
I was telling a friend of mine I bumped into how one of the greatest things about this experience for the kids is that they are getting pumped about running, and getting to see it as fun and rewarding. I think that is important because as the kids get older and into higher grades in school and start sports, running is used as PUNISHMENT. And as a result, I actually hated running as a kid.
Parents are allowed to run with their kids for this race, they just ask that you start back behind them. Just as they were getting ready to start Owen kept looking back for me.
He took off when the race started and before we reached the 1/4 mile mark, I saw him looking back for me while he was running. He slowed and I caught up, he grabbed my hand and held it while we ran the next 1/4 mile – he never stopped running. SO stinkin’ cute! He had fun, but his breathing was labored because of the cough he was fighting. He was so proud at the finish line, though!
After his race, this kid refueled like he just ran 26.2…no idea where he gets that appetite from… Hahaha.
We cruised through the expo to pick up my race bib for the next morning before getting back for his baseball game. Found our favorite fueling waffles while doing that. This is the best Honeystinger waffle flavor, BTW. Easy on the tummy and also delicious on your ice cream. (Ugh, I know, I know).
So berry cute, this kid!
We found this cool mural on our way back to the car, not sure why that dirty towel was laying there, but we wanted a picture, and that wasn’t going to stop us!
Next up, was my race on Sunday morning, and my wave was running at 9:10 am.
Ready, set, sleep……or not.
Between that night and the race the next morning, Liam had woken up at 11pm very sick and gasping for air. He ended up being in the ER until 4:30am because they treated him and needed to keep him for observation. Exhausted was an understatement, when I made the decision at 6:15am to just go and get this done.
I jogged an easy 2 mile warm up when I arrived and jumped in at the start line. I had that delirious, tired feeling.
When the race started we took off fast – in true “Worlds Fastest 5k” fashion. Although they claim that, there are a couple small rollers throughout the 3 miles. About a 1/4 of a mile in, I looked down and Garmin was clocking me at a 5:43 pace. Just a tad aggressive for me. My first mile was a 6:23, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to hang with that. My body gave up. I was exhausted though. I had to cut myself some Mom-slack for this one. I ended up finishing about 37 seconds slower than last year.
One of the best parts of this event is watching the Elite Races, they have a female and a male wave and you can watch them start right from the beer garden – perfect!
I found several friends in there and got pictures with a couple of them.
Sandy – @run_love_smile This one is always so cheerful when I bump into her at races.
James and I ran in high school together, and he and his beautiful wife (whom also went to school with us) had 3 of their 4 kiddos running the Junior races as well. You can follow along on his journey on his blog: http://lovethehurt.blogspot.com/
And Javier @runningjavi – I bumped into and met for the first time. I have connected with some great people through IG.
Races are so much fun these days, because the running community has really grown and been thriving over the last few years. It’s become such a positive and uplifting population of athletes – makes it so easy to get reeled into that run life.
If you have never run this race before, I absolutely recommend it, and if you have kids – get them in on it, too. If mine want to do it next year, I am going to sign them up, even little Liam this time. Owen’s race was the highlight of this race weekend, and it made for the very best Medal Monday!
Run happy, my friends!