Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jingle Jam 10K With Josh



Another first – My 16 year old son Josh wants to do the Disney Half Marathon this January.  We have been training the past two months, which has been an awesome experience in itself (I will post later on this).  His endurance has really improved, and has really helped with his Football (season now over after making it to the state semi-final), and wrestling season (started the day football was over). 
Me, Josh, Laura, Renee
Last weekend we ran his first road race which was the 1st annual Jingle Jam 10K.  His long runs have been 8+ miles so I knew he would have no problems covering the distance.  I wanted him to get a feel of a race environment, and dealing with aid stations, before the very crowded Disney Race.
Friday night before the race, we got home late after an away wrestling match (Josh had two matches).  The next morning, the ground was covered with frost, and the temps hovering in the middle 30s.  My very supportive wife (Laura) got up early to make sure everything got off to a good start for Josh’s first race.  While driving to the race, Laura and I were talking about the weekend’s agenda (shopping, getting our Christmas tree, party,…), and I glanced in the back seat and Josh was crashed. 
 We pulled into the Lady Antebellum Stadium parking area with plenty of time to burn.  Laura got a few pics of some of the runners with costumes (Josh and I wore Santa hats – next year will be different) as we made our way to the starting line.  Laura’s sisters (Tammy and Shari) caught up to us just before the race started to wish us luck and cheer us on.  They were checking out some of the festive costumes and could see them already planning something for me and Josh next year.  Laura came up with some good ideas if our daughter (Renee) runs it with us (she most likely will) next year.


Tammy, Santa, Shari
3, 2, 1 and we were off as I positioned us in the front-middle of the pack.  I wanted Josh to get a feel to run with other runners in a pack, and to control his own pace without letting someone else controlling his pace.  Initially, a lot of runners went flying by as I reminded josh to run his race, and we would be seeing a lot of these runners before we crossed the finish line.  We established cruise control as we enjoyed the cool quiet morning temps.  The race was well organized with plenty of support along the course in costumes cheering us along.  The aid stations were the typical 2 miles apart.  One had a HS band playing, and the other had a choir singing.  The race also supported awareness for SafeHomes.  
It has been awhile for me doing road races, but a good reminder of just how far I had come in the running world.  Some of the conversation I heard made me smile (“This is a hilly course…Wow, we can do this, only 3 miles to go,… I’m thinking about doing a half but it just seems like a lot of miles,…I need to walk this hill,…”).  Josh said “Dad, you should have worn one of your 50 or 100 mile shirts”.  I told him this was not the place for it, and didn’t want to draw any attention, or take away from the experience for other runners.  It just seems like the right thing to do, and I read somewhere to never wear a race shirt of longer distance then the race you’re participating in.

I was thinking while we were cruising along how awesome it was to be in a race with my son.  16 years ago this would have never crossed my mind, but living it now, made every training mile I’ve ever done worth this one moment.  I only hope everybody gets an experience like this, and to realize there is so much more to running then what’s going on with yourself.  You just never know what life has installed for you – Be ready for it.  Josh also told me he wants to do the Augusta Half Marathon in February and the Marine Corp Marathon in Oct (My first and will be his first also).  Who knows, someday I might get a chance to run this event with grandchildren!
By mile 4, Josh got a little tightness in his right hip (most likely from last night’s wrestling matches), and I had him change his running stride to help work it out.  After a few hundred yards, he worked it out without missing a beat.  Josh said how different it was to be a runner in a race compared to being on the side watching.  He said everyone seems so fresh, and full of energy cheering, and I felt tired, sweaty, and in a zone.  I told him to absorb their energy and positive vibs to stay motivated, but don’t get too wrapped up in it and over extend yourself.
On some of the mild hills, we started to pass groups of runners like crazy.  Josh says why are they slowing up so much?  I reminded him we had been training on some much stepper hills, and although hard at times, we are getting the benefit from it now.  The runners that flew by us in the beginning, we were now going by, and Josh was feeling good about passing other runners in the later stages of the race.  With one mile to go, Josh and I picked up the pace for a strong finish.  He started to pick out runners ahead of us and he would say “Come on Dad, lets go pass that one”. 

We got to the final 100 meter home stretch and Josh dropped the hammer without saying anything.  I was thinking he was feeling the finish line energy and was picking up his pace for a good show, so I started to run a little faster to stay with him.  Next thing I know he went full throttle, and I’m now about 30 yards behind him.  Wow, where did that come from, I better drop the hammer just to catch him.  I went full out into a sprint when a lady crossed into me and I had to hit the breaks to keep from colliding with her.  Afterward, Josh says I have bragging rights because I beat a 100 miler, with a grin nobody could take off his face.  I could not be more proud of my son, and I’m sure it showed.  I also told him now that I knew how fast he could run, I was going to kick-up his training pace.  Obviously, I underestimated his abilities – Sandbagger.
 Afterwards, we went to I-Hop for a celebration breakfast with Laura, Tammy, Shari, and John.  Then we picked out our Christmas tree and set it up for the Holidays.  What a perfect day!

18 comments:

Terri said...

I LOVE this post! What a great dad you are. My youngest likes to run and I have worked with her on pacing as well and she saw the benefit of that in a recent kids race. She smoked me at the finish line too:) I found it interesting that you thought about not wearing your ultra t-shirt...really thoughtful of you toward the other runner. Glad you are getting to have this experience with your son!

Olga said...

Sounds awesome family times! Way to go for your son, on all fronts! And I loved the conversations you heard during a race:)

lindsay said...

How fun! Love his enthusiasm. Hasn't run a half yet and is already planning more / marathons. Hmm, yup, must be a runner! ;)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

That is awesome!!!

Stephanie said...

This post put a huge smile on my face from beginning to end. Your son fooled you nicely;-) He's already got his dad's ultra stamina!

Rooster said...

Awesome post, thanks for sharing! I almost have Alex convinced to pace me for 10 miles at Umstead 100M in March. I sure hope he does.

Congrats to your son!

ultra collie said...

great to see father and son out there together..though he looks to have left you in his wake at the sprint finish ;-)

Black Knight said...

Father and son running together: what a wonderful decision!
I hope you will run many races again together.
Great pictures.
P.S.: I have the same black shirt "under armour".

Bethk said...

Love all of the pictures of your perfect family day! I've run Disney twice now and think it is my absolute favorite race. He will love it!! Glad everything is going well for you and I hope you have a great holiday.

Black Knight said...

Happy Christmas to you and your family.

DawnB said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours Thomas, what a beautiful story, and what an awesome experience this must have been for both of you. I am still dreaming of the day this could happen for me! beautiful, just beautiful.

DawnB said...
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DawnB said...
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DawnB said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours Thomas, what a beautiful story, and what an awesome experience this must have been for both of you. I am still dreaming of the day this could happen for me! beautiful, just beautiful.

DawnB said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours Thomas, what a beautiful story, and what an awesome experience this must have been for both of you. I am still dreaming of the day this could happen for me! beautiful, just beautiful.

DawnB said...
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DawnB said...
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Giorgio said...

Good luck on the Disney Half Marathon!
May you have a wonderful Christmas time!