Me: "Your first 5k of the year and you placed second in your age group. What race do you want to run next, another 5k?"
Harrison: "I want to run a 10k."
Harrison: "Before my 10th birthday."
Me: "Sounds like fun. Let's plan it."
Back to the present day and the Liberty by the Lake 5k and 10k in The Colony, Texas. Not only would Harrison's running a 10k be a first but Kathryn, my 14-year-old, would also run her first 5k. It would be a perfect holiday activity for us. We three agreed we would run together until the 5k and 10k courses split, after than I would pace Harrison.
The report is: they finished! Kathryn's reaction to her run, "I had fun, 'cuz I'm awesome like that."
No argument here.
"That was so HARD!" said Harrison after we crossed the line together, "I need to run more before the next one."
Again, no argument from me.
A natural question is, how long will it be until he takes to the road and begins training? And my answer is, I'm not sure and, to be honest, I'm not worried about it. At his age he's probably too young for a traditional training program and it's likely to not be all that beneficial either. For him, running should still be play and not structured training. He should run just for its joy. Run to simply feel the leaves crunch beneath his feet, hear the wind in the trees, and hop over rain puddles. He should run to find a place away from school work, and sisters, and chores, and people telling him what to do. Run so he can be with his own thoughts and dream his own dreams. Run to that place where all desires can be trusted and doubts released. Run to be with his friends and yes, run to be with his Dad.
My wish for him, Kathryn, and Margeaux is they find the joy of staying physically active on their own and make sport a lifelong activity.
And may their first choice in a running partner be me.