June 3, 2017
I enjoy running. Sounds crazy coming from me though. All my life until about age 35, I loathed running. Then I caught the triathlon bug in 2009 and started running. I found it mentally therapeutic and physically rewarding. Since 2009 I’ve run a lot. Two marathons, two 1/2 Ironman, a 1/2 marathon, too many shorter triathlons to count, several 5k’s, and LOTS of training miles.
Evidently my son has been watching me, because he took up track this spring to compete on his Jr. High team at school. Dad win #1. I’m so proud of Brandon taking on a challenge like that. He’d never done it before, and with only a couple 5k’s under his belt (including the HWP 5k last year), his running experience was pretty limited.
Toward the end of track season Brandon was in pretty good shape since he was running everyday after school. He jumped at the chance to run the same Hope Water Project 5k we ran together last year because we had such a fun experience AND he wanted to crush his race time. Dad win #2. My boy is a competitor like me. He wants to get better. Goal crusher. Always improving.
Further, Brandon understands that the race is a fundraiser for clean water in Africa which provides HOPE for health, life, and opportunity to learn about Jesus. He knows all about my 2016 Run With Purpose mission to raise money for this worthy cause as I trained for the Detroit Marathon. He wore the HWP wrist band all year to remind him that many people don’t have what we so easily take for granted. Dad win #3. Brandon sees the vision for this initiative and is interested to help. I love that his heart sees the needs of others and takes action – even for a small thing like participating in a 5k.
Since I hadn’t run AT ALL since the marathon last fall, we needed to put in some training to prepare for the race if we were going to beat last year’s time. I’m not gonna lie, the first couple runs were difficult for both of us. He hadn’t run long distance much, so he was frustrated at how hard it was at first. Since we know that any goal worth achieving will be hard, he stuck with it and saw marked improvement in the brief training period before the race. He felt confident to beat last years time by at least 1:30.
The race venue is a 90 minute drive from home, so we woke at 5:30 a.m. to be on site by 7:30 to collect our race bibs and stretch before the start. The weather was perfect; sunny, light cool breeze, and in the low 60’s at race time. Nearly 800 people raced. With the crowd, music, different food vendors and HWP swag tents, the place was electric. It’s impossible to not get fired up about racing in this environment.
Long story short (too late for that, lol) Brandon ran his heart out and I was at his side the entire time. He did not stop, and even pushed really hard the last 200m to finish in his record time- nearly 3 minutes faster than last year!
Running is hard work. It teaches many life lessons. Brandon is learning how to stretch past the limits his mind puts on him when his body wants to stop. The body will go where the mind takes it. That’s fortitude. That kind of mental toughness will serve him well in life. I’m glad he’s learning that now. Isn’t that what being Dad is all about? Teaching life lessons. Doing things together. Helping others. Dad win.