It must be Easter Weekend, because the Big Bunny Fun Run 5K was today! Dave took Julian and Katrina to Julian's T-ball game, while Gabriel and I ran in the race.
First, a little yoga stretching.
At the start -- on your mark!
I recognized a woman from the Y and struck up a conversation, since she was running with her 8-year-old 3rd-grader too (the girl on my left). The woman is a phenomenal athlete, but she said she wasn't really running the race, she was going to stick with her daughter. She was floored when I told her that not only did I have no intention of sticking with Gabriel, but last year, I had no choice! He left me in the dust and I met him at the finish.
(I don't know, am I really that more lax than other parents? I got the same sort of great surprise from many parents in Julian's class when I did a drop-off for him at a birthday party, like they'd never heard of such a thing. But I really didn't see much risk in an 8-year-old following along in a large group of people on a well-marked route, and people with orange vests at every turn to point people in the right direction.)
The Big Bunny blew the airhorn, and we were underway. I sprinted to get ahead of Gabriel to get a few action shots.
He was ahead of me for the first half, but then I got ahead of him. I wasn't surprised; he hasn't been running in Running Club this year, though that didn't reduce his determination at all. I tried to follow along some preteen girls too, and realized that it's not that easy to run with kids -- they don't keep a steady pace. During the few minutes I ran alongside Gabriel, he'd speed up and slow down again and again, and it wasn't comfortable for me.
Not that I was very fast. I saw the hind end of many in the 60-69 age group, and spent much of the race trying to match the pace of a man in the 70+ group. I finally caught him toward the end.
Still, I finished in plenty of time to set up for a finish-line shot of Gabriel, which unfortunately happened to be when he blinked.
He finished strong, though he was limping around for about half an hour afterward.
Mercifully, this year they did the awards announcements right away after the race, and did the youngest age groups first (as compared to last year when we had to endure 45 minutes of a raffle first, and they did the youngest age groups last).
I wasn't expecting Gabriel to get a trophy this year, but when I heard them announce 31 minutes for the 3rd-place finisher in his age group, I realized, "Holy cow, he's placed!" I dropped everything to search for my camera and got it just in time to hear: "....and in first place, with a time of 27:02, Gabriel Duh ... er, ... Dood-na!"
He took First Place in his division, and beat his time last year handily too. I guess youth trumps conditioning! Good for him! I was really proud and happy for him. But he was sober -- he'd been looking forward to "beating the pants off you, Mom," and that, he didn't do.
Just for fun, we stuck around to hear the finishing times for my age group. Forget it; the 3rd place finishers in 40-49, 50-59, and even 60-69 all completely beat my time, which I believe was just under 27 minutes based on Gabriel's time. In my age group, the 3rd-placer was in the 22-minute range, something I'll never see. But if I have any strength in running, it's not speed -- I was starting to pass people toward the end, but in a 5K that's not enough time to catch up. If I want to be competitive, I'll do better in longer races with hills. And I have to want to be competitive, which I really don't.
Next year, Gabriel's age division will be 9-12, where the competition is much stiffer. But he'll have a good shot at beating his old Mom.