Saturday was ladies race day in my family. Rachael (5), Samantha (now the big 7) and I all ran in races while Joe helped cheer us on. I have to say that it was one of the best starts to a day I’ve ever had.
First up was the kiddie fun run which Rachael excitedly lined up for at 8:15am. She was once again a good head, or more, shorter than most of the kids, but that didn’t stop her from lining up right in front. The race director rearranged the order and put her more towards the back which I could tell ticked her off to no end. It was probably for the best because the 10 year olds may have bowled her over, but I couldn’t help feeling slightly resentful on her behalf. Just because she’s shorter, doesn’t mean she’s not tougher.
As the race started the older kids did go out much faster and Rachael was right at the back. Before she made the first turn and disappeared out of sight, she had already passed two kids and didn’t appear to be slowing down. It was a few minutes wait and then we saw the older kids coming back and soon Rachael was turning the corner to head to the finish. Samantha and I were about 100 yards from the finish and Joe was waiting at the finish line. As Samantha and I saw Rachael we started cheering for this tiny, little dynamo who looked thrilled to be in a race. Samantha started running next to her and called out, “Run as fast as you can to the finish line, Rachael!” to which Rachael replied in her normally blunt way, “I am!!!”
I started hearing Joe calling out, “Go Rachael! You’re almost there!” Then Rachael crossed the finish line and we all scooped her up into a family hug. Samantha kept congratulating her and Rachael seemed happy about her race. She even told me proudly that she’d passed “lots” of people.
Next up was the 5K race for Samantha and me. We lined up in the middle of the pack as I’ve run this race before and many of the entrants are my pace or slower. I knew Samantha would be able to keep up just fine.
At the start Samantha was, as usual, going a little too fast and she was in fact kicking my butt. I have to admit that I was happy when she finally decided to take a short walk break. I’m not sure which one of us needed that more. After that initial start though, she did begin to slow down a little. She always starts a little too fast and is not quite able to keep the pace up until the end. She did push herself a bit more than usual in the first mile as there was another young girl right in front of her and you could tell she wanted to beat her. She had no intention of “losing” to a girl her age. For the first mile I had to repeatedly tell her not to worry about the other girl, just to run her own race.
About halfway through the race Samantha was starting to walk more and then I saw a BIG puddle and had a great idea. I suggested she run through the puddle. She looked up at me to make sure I was serious and then ran off like a shot to splash through that puddle with all her might. We heard many chuckles from the adults around us and then with every puddle we passed Samantha splashed her way through. The smile on her face was precious.
At the water station we had even more fun. We each took several sips of our water and then we poured both cups of water over Samantha’s head. She loved it! She was starting to look a bit like a wet rat and she was having so much fun.
On the last mile we suddenly saw another little girl ahead of us (Samantha had passed the other one long ago) and now Samantha had another goal. She wanted to pass this little girl too. The little girl seemed tired to me as she was walking a lot so I told Samantha to just go slowly, but keep running. I knew if she could do that we would catch up. With under a half mile to go Samantha passed the girl and never looked back from there. She even started setting her sites on the adults ahead of us.
With about 200 yards to go I told Samantha to run as fast as she could to the finish and, as usual, she was off. She passed one more adult as she sped to the finish line and finished with me a few seconds behind. Samantha didn’t even stop for me this time, but instead kept walking until she found Rachael who came running up to give her a BIG hug. Both girls were so proud of themselves and of each other.
This race was the first time we waited around for the prizes. I’m not one of the top 3 in my age group so I generally just leave. This time I had a feeling Samantha would be one of the top 3 in the 12 and under girls. As the race director called out, “The winner of the girls 12 and under…” I silently waited and then he said, “Samantha Janos.” I have to admit that I was thrilled Samantha had won. I know she is proud of her running ability and it was nice to see her proud of her accomplishment. She probably isn’t buying my constant race reminder that “the only person she has to beat is herself” anymore. Oh well.
Rachael is starting to ask about running a 5K herself so next year it will have to be the entire Janos clan running down the street and occasionally through puddles. Sounds like fun!