I ran a 5k fun run with my son on Sunday. It was a fund-raiser for his school science department. And I learned some things.
I learned about boys of a certain age (11ish) and girls of a similar age. Both how they approach a challenge and how outside influence affects their pursuit of excellence.
This was a bare bones, no frills, fun run. There was no time clock, no sound system, and no coffee. (Wait! No coffee?) It was a very loose and informal affair. Definitely NOT a race
(But don’t tell the boys that)
At the start, all the boys crushed up to the “start line” which was a crack in the sidewalk. As the “race marshal” (aka a science teacher) yelled “GO!” all the boys sprinted off. They smiled at each other in an “I dare you” kind of way and pushed each other faster and faster. They were gone from sight in an instant.
The girls waited patiently for the mass of people to begin moving and then set off at a reasonable, sustainable pace. Their chins were high, their gate was measured, their form was excellent.
By the end of mile one, the boys were mostly walking, red-faced and panting. The girls, breathing comfortably enough to carry on a conversation, trotted past the boys.
By the end of mile two, my son was gassed. “I can’t run anymore!” he cried on more than one occasion. So we walked.
It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shimmering off the lake, a cloudless sky hovered nearly windless above our heads, and I was hanging out with one of my favorite people in the entire world. A core memory in the making perhaps?
And he did great! I am sooo very proud of him and the effort he put in. He ran the fastest single mile he has EVER run. 7 mins 32 secs. Amazing!
But I know he wants to do better, he wants to be faster for the full 3.1 miles next time. He wants to break 30 minutes. So after the glow of his success begins to fade and he turns his attention to the next race, we will have a conversation titled:
How To Start Slow, Finish Strong, and Kick Butt
Run on, Sisters and Brothers!