Sunday, November 20, 2011

My heart, my son, races

Finishing my first 5K race this weekend was exhilarating, but more exciting than that was the fact that my nine-year-old son, also finished his first footrace that day, the JUST RUN Just Kids 3K Race, another event during the Big Sur Half Marathon weekend

The race was something Nico set out to do completely on his own. After seeing the race website when I was researching it on my computer, Nico asked me a few questions about the kids' race event and then seemingly moved on. On the day of the race, though, he said he wanted to participate. My husband and I tried to talk him out of it since Nico hadn't trained and we hadn't planned on him taking part in the event. He would have to run it alone. 

He said he wanted to do it. So he did.

I registered Nico for the race about an hour before it started. His event took place on the same course as mine, only his was shorter (3K instead of 5K) and started 30 minutes later. I didn't get to see him start and was worried about how nervous he might be without me or my husband there to calm his nerves. Luckily, my sister was there to keep him company.

During my 5K, I was running toward the finish line as Nico was running toward his turnaround. Seeing him across the path, both of us running, was among the most glorious parenting moments I've had. 

I had been on the lookout for him once I made the turnaround. Initially, I  thought Nico would be toward the end of the pack, but knowing that he hadn't trained for the race and didn't know how to pace himself, I kept an eye out for him as soon as I saw the first kids approaching. 

Sure enough, I soon spotted a boy with floppy, dark brown hair, wearing black and red windpants. I shouted and waved my arms. Nico was running fast and looked amazing. When I finally got his attention, he beamed at me as we ran in opposite directions. My heart nearly burst with joy.

Seeing Nico cross the finish line and get awarded his finisher's medal was a proud mom moment for me on a few levels. I was proud of him for finishing the race, of course, but I was amazed that he even started it. It took courage, determination, stamina - mentally and physically. This, from the boy I butt heads with on a daily basis. This, from the child who consistently finds a way to outsmart me on School Picture Day, declares a "We Hate Mommy" day and puts himself up for sale when he's upset with me.

This weekend's race finishes marked a milestone for us. In training for my 5K, my first-born child accompanied me - on foot, scooter or bike - nearly every step of the way for the past three months. He has been my coach. He has been my partner. He gives me a run for my money and keeps me on my toes - literally. 

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