Sunday, March 18, 2007

This One's For You

Rich had a nice post about running a 5K with his 15 year old nephew that got me to thinking about running with children. It's great that Rich is introducing the youngster to running. I hope the young man sticks with it. I also notice that Rich beat his nephew handily. You gotta be careful because kids are treacherous.

I once ran a Race For The Cure (RFTC) 5K with my 17 year old nephew. My sister lives in Columbus with her three children and her husband, a college perfesser. She's an artist and a sometimes runner. She has an art show coming up. Maybe I'll tell you more about that later.

I am envious of her because she won a plaque in the one race she has run in her life (other than a couple of RFTCs). It was in 2005 and I was running in a crazy Half-Marathon in the middle of Ohio in the dead of winter called Last Chance For Boston. You run around a mile loop in a deserted industrial park 13 times. There's a marathon, a 10K and a 5K going on at the same time. Around and around everyone goes.

My sister was doing the 5K version of the race. We started together, 1/10 mile behind the official clock. The marathoners and 10Kers were 2/10 mile behind the official clock. The gun went off and this race's version of a staggered start got underway. I bolted out to stay ahead of the surge of fast marathoners and 10K runners coming up behind me. My sister said her greatest fear was that I would lap her before she finished her third loop. Not to worry. She finished in 32:40 and took third in her age group (out of six runners). I didn't pass the clock my fourth time until 34:04. I finished my Half-Marathon in 1:53:08, a PR. I was seventh (out of nine) in my age group. I would have been third in my age group if I had run the 5K and taken home my very own plaque.

My sister's plaque was very handsome. I had never won a plaque. I was filled with jealousy. In some degree, six of the seven deadly sins were at work in me whenever I looked at her plaque. Only sloth seemed to be totally absent.

Anyway, in 2003, I went to run with her family in the Columbus RFTC. My sister took her two younger boys and walked. Her oldest son and I ran it.

The race went swimmingly. I encouraged my nephew to keep running whenever he flagged. I accommodated his pace. I ran ahead and snapped his picture for a keepsake. I waited for him. I put him on track to break 30 minutes.

Near the end, in way of encouragement, I said, Look, Nephew, there's the finish! There's only 200 yards to go.

My nephew looked. He saw the finish banner. He looked at me. A predatory look passed over his face. He took off.

Hey, I cried. I took off after him.

Don't let a teenager hang around you near the end of a race. Put them away long before that. They're fast! Maybe not for long, but in a sprint, they'll beat you. Result, Nephew 28:15 and bragging rights that night, me the big runner in the family 28:18 and pie in the face.

But I got him back. Revenge is a dish best served cold. He visited me that summer. We went running on a four mile out and back. We easily loafed two miles away from the house in about 25 minutes. At the turnaround point I casually asked him if he thought he could beat me back to the house. Sure, he said, his competitive spirit flaring. Our paces quickened. We agreed that whoever lost would cook dinner that night.

The gauntlet thrown down, I asked him, Do you remember the RFTC? He nodded. Well, see ya then, I said, and kicked it into tempo pace. He matched me stride for stride for a few yards and then quickly fell away. I kept the hammer down all the way home.

I was sitting on the porch in a fresh shirt, sipping ice tea, when he finally came running down the street, hot, flushed, his breath labored. He looked positively bedraggled. I called out to him as he pulled up at the driveway and slouched towards the house. Hey Nephew, what's for dinner?

1 comment:

Just12Finish said...

Nice story. I contemplated holding back and running w/ my nephew, but the guy's 15 and I figured he's enough of a big boy to do it on his own!