Monday, August 29, 2011

The Finish Line

My parents were runners. They took us to road races when we were kids. I distinctly remember standing along the side of the road, waiting excitedly to see my Mom or Dad run past. They took turns, as Ryan and I do now, with one running and the other being responsible for the kids and cheering at the finish.

Ryan's Fan Club


I remember rainy and cold mornings when we wore trash bags to keep dry, Julie someone whining at my Mom before she left to go run "don't go Mommy!" and of one of us getting sick in the port-a-johns before a race. These weren't bad memories or things I think back on negatively, just more memorable moments for obvious reasons. As a kid, watching my Mom or Dad run away in a crowd of strangers made me over-joyed to see them come back. They would cross the finish line sweaty and victorious, with a number pinned to their shirts and a medal around their necks - instantly going from heroes to super heroes. I saw a little of that awe in Charlie this weekend as he met Ryan at the finish line.

Medal envy
I never thought of these races from my parents' perspective - how early did they have to get up that day to get all three of us there, fed and somewhat happy before they got to run? How did they decide who got to run and who stayed with kids? They would cross the finish line, exhausted, and immediately start dealing with us and all the needs and complaints we'd been bottling up for the past hour. I get it now. It probably wasn't always fun for them, but it was worth it to do something they loved. And it made a powerful impression on me as a kid, one that I want to pass on to my own kids. Running (and fitness in general) is good for your body, your heart, your mind, your soul. And pushing yourself and testing your limits in a race is a good idea once in awhile - even if it means being away from your kids for an hour or two on a Sunday morning. This past weekend was Ryan's turn to race and he had fun running a half-marathon in the North Face Endurance Challenge, a new race to KC.
Finishing strong

Perhaps trying to join in the spirit of the race, C wanted to take his shirt off.
The atmosphere at the finish line was great and it was a very well organized race. Ryan would definitely do it again and I hope to join him next year (we'll have to recruit the grandparents to help, another great option to make sure we keep running). There was a band at the finish that captured C's attention as we were on our way out. He didn't want to leave. I hope he has fond memories of race finish lines someday, too.
  
The band

Watching the band

1 comment:

  1. Yep you are right, I have many memories of races with Mom and Dad. I have a distinct memory of them being covered in aluminum foil after the race and them coming to us with a cape like superman/woman! But I also remember the tears and the wonderful rain, or the distinct smells of the johnnys! And yes, here we are, we both run races today, it did rub off on us. Charlie will be a runner, and he will most likely always run with his shirt off!

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