In which I run my first, and last, 5k

It’s time, once again, for our yearly tradition. Except this year, there was just one hitch.

If you recall, last year Sara promised Evelyn that she could run the 5k. Unfortunately, with Sara being hugely pregnant, the duty fell to me.


The racers, including Oliver in his “knight” makeup

I have to say that I had no ambition or desire to run a 5k, and I probably wouldn’t have even tried, except that if this tiny slip of a girl can do it, surely I can do it, right?

Of course, she had sweet headphones and a lightning bolt on her face, so it was kind of unfair to begin with.


Evelyn and I practiced a couple of times, first for 2 miles, and then for 3 the next week. So we were as ready as we were going to be, and we set a goal of 45 minutes.

The day of, Evelyn was so excited she woke up at 4 a.m.


At the end, Evelyn couldn’t be held up by her old, out of shape dad, and she whooped my butt.


I’m happy to say that we shattered our 45 minute goal, and I did not die, even if I wasn’t able to keep up with the little blond girl in the daisy print pants. Evelyn finished at 36:14 (11:41 per mile, average) and I finished at 36:38 (11:49 per mile, average).


Afterwards, while I was walking in circles clutching my chest and trying to breathe up all the oxygen in Chicago, Evelyn decided to go run the kids’ mile, for funsies. This was on top of the mile we walked there, and another home.

Kids, man.

Oliver also ran his very first race, running the mile all by himself. He was a little nervous at first, standing in the crowd at the starting line, but once the race got underway he was fine.


He finished at 12:38.

He was so excited after the race, and was telling us all about it. Some of the highlights:

  • “Sometimes I ran fast, and sometimes I ran slow, but I never jogged.”
  • “Did you see all those birds? All those birds flying? They flew right over me!”
  • “There was a dead dog in the road, but I jumped over it.”

Ba’scuse me?

We had some confirmation from a 3rd party that there was a bloody dead squirrel smeared all over the road (squirrel / dog, potato / potahto), and Oliver may well have jumped over it, because he was certainly able to describe it in great detail.

So, in the end, everybody got what they wanted: Evelyn got to embarrass her father, I got to not die, and Ollie got to jump over a dead dog.

Hooray for running!

Our Yearly Race

Sara pointed out the other day, that going to the Comer Classic is as much of a family tradition as pancakes and applesauce. This was our 4th year. Every year is a little bit different, but some things are the same. For example, they still have killer face painters.


(Ollie is a cheetah, because “they’re fast”)

The thing that’s different every year is how old the kids are. That first year, Ollie was a 1 1/2 year old. It’s a lot easier to manage the kids these days (even without the help from Grandma and Grandpa!). That let Ollie and I catch Sara a couple of times on the route.

Sara got a personal record for her race, finishing under 30 minutes…


…and Evie got one for her race as well. I could see that she was really working hard. She definitely left it all on the field.


This year Ollie got to participate in the (sort of lame) kids’ dash. Next year he has big plans to go up to the mile “like Evie”, except she has even bigger plans to run the 5k with her daddy. Uh….we’ll see about that one, sweetheart! Way to pick on the one person you can beat in a race.


Evie’s Race

If you recall, last year at this time Evie was preparing for her first race. As you also may recall, Evie was intensely disappointed with her first race. She had taken the race preparation very seriously, and the race organizers very obviously had not, and Evie is not one to miss something like that.

Well, Evie obviously wasn’t the only one who felt that way, because this year they introduced a “real” race for kids, and Evie was much obliged.


It was a one mile race and it was for real. There was a course laid out, and a biker in front to clear the path. The kids had timing chips in their numbers, and entire legions of fans cheering at the finish line. In other words, it was everything Evie hoped for. After all, these are kids of runners, and they know what a real race should look like.


(Look at that runner’s stride…she’s a natural!)

Unfortunately, Evie wiped out on the final turn, skinning her knees and hands. I hadn’t seen her fall. Right at the finish line she was all grins and I was hugging her and telling her how proud of her I was. “I fell down, but I got right back up and finished the race!” she proclaimed. I gave her another big hug, but slowly her face crumpled and she started crying. “It huuurts!” she said. She was just feeling all the feelings – pride, pain, happiness, adrenaline – and it was just too much for her little 6 year old body to contain.


(She made me take this picture)

This was the race I was hoping for last year. I have to admit, I got a little teary eyed seeing her recognize that this was the real deal, and seeing how proud she was. She finished her mile in 11:08 (about the same as the average 12 year old according to some chart Sara found online). She looked so grown up drinking her after-race water with her medal around her neck and her number pinned to her shirt (you know, despite the Monarch butterfly on her face).

She did so great, and it was a great moment in her life. I’m glad I could share it with her.

2013_10_06_9999_45(Yeah, Sara ran a race too or something)


Evie’s First Race

In what has become an annual event, Sara once again ran the Comer Classic 5k conveniently located in our neighborhood. However, this year there was an additional participant in the kid’s portion of the race.

We were really prepared for the worst, since the weather called for thunderstorms all day. However, the weather held all morning until just after we got home, it was unseasonably warm, and everybody had a great day. Sara even beat her previous time by an impressive 2 minutes and 11 seconds.

This year, there was again face painting, and the kids took full advantage. I am always stunned by how awesome people are at face paining these days. When I was a kid, you got a rainbow on the side of your face and called it a day.

Evie asked to be an angel:

and Ollie asked to be a “blue monster”. I’d say he fit the bill:

Oliver has never had his face painted before. I wish I would have had a video of him when the lady held up the mirror for him to see his face. Despite feeling her applying makeup all over his face, he was somehow completely unprepared for what he looked like. A slow smile spread across his face, and his eyes positively lit up. He spent most of the day baring his teeth. I’m perhaps a little biased, but he was far and away the cutest monster running around that day.

Finally, came the big moment: Evie’s race.

Evie has been looking forward to this for a year, no kidding. She was so excited to do a race. Just picking out her running clothes that morning was a whole thing. She could hardly wait until all the adult stuff was over to get to her part.

It was a little disorganized, but they finally got underway. Evie was in the youngest age group, and I really don’t think anybody else was quite as determined to give it their all the way she was. As she came whizzing past me, just the look of determination on her face, with just the faintest hint of a smile, told me that it was that perfect moment when you were a kid and you suddenly got everything you wanted.

It was a great moment while it lasted.

Afterwards, Evie was almost in tears. “I’m not even proud of this medal,” she said. It was a heartbreaking moment. I was worried perhaps she was upset that she didn’t “win”, which was something we had discussed before the race. “Why not, honey?” “The race was too short!” she lamented.

Evie has been training for this race, and taking it very seriously. Unfortunately, the race organizers did not take the 4-5 year olds quite as seriously, and just set up a little dash from one side of the field to the other. It wasn’t a real race, any more than someone saying, “I’ll race you to that tree! Go!” is a real race, and Evie knew it.

It was a sad moment, and my heart went out to her. She was right, but nonetheless I wish she could have held on to that one shining moment where she was flying over the grass and her fondest desire was achieved. So sad to see that ruined.

Oh well, I guess that’s life kid. Get used to it.


Over the weekend, Sara ran her first 5k. We’re very proud of her!

Evie, Ollie, and I were on hand to cheer her on. It was great, since the race was in our neighborhood, so we were able to walk there. Also, since it was such a short race, we hardly had time to eat a little snack before the runners started coming it.

There were lots of activities for the kids, such as some really professional face painting and balloons (oh, did I come to rue the day we saw those balloons).

Evie, or a butterfly?

Sara was a little nervous about the race, since she’d never run one before. Her goal was just to not embarrass herself, and to be able to run the entire time. Therefore, she was hoping to make it in under 40 minutes.

Well, she killed it. She finished well under 40 minutes (34:13 for the record), and when she was done, she wasn’t even winded.

Sara hotdogging it to the finish line, like she was out for a pleasant stroll

The morning started out pretty cold, but by the time the race finished, it was a beautiful day. Unfortunately, we had attended the Harvest Festival at Evie’s school the day before, and the kids were a little out of sorts. So we really payed for it at the race, which was too bad, because I was sad that it sort of put a pallor on Sara’s day. At one point I thought to myself, “Running the race has to be easier than dealing with the kids!” but then I quickly took it back, because I didn’t want to trivialize Sara’s accomplishment. However, even Sara agreed that running had been much easier than managing two tired, crying children!

The kids are so proud of their mama, can’t you tell?

At the end of the day (well, more like the beginning of the day), I was very proud of Sara. Not that she finished the race, since there wasn’t really much question of that by the time the race starts, but everything else that goes into it. Even just actually signing up for the race is a step more than a lot of people go. And lord knows I’m not signing up to run any races any time soon.

Sara’s already signed up for a 10k in November, so this is definitely not the last race. Also, Evie has been promised that she can run in the kid’s race next year, and she is ridiculously excited by this. She even wants to “train with mommy” for it (but only as long as there are no hills!) So maybe someday she will follow in her mother’s footsteps.

Congratulations Sara! You won the 5k for my heart! (Oh, I’m going to pay for that one…)