Saturday, June 22, 2013

First Track Meet

It was just about a year ago when our oldest son started begging us to let him run with a local track and field club. It started in June and the minimum age was six, so he missed it by a month. All year he continued to ask when he could join the running club. We always have busy summers filled with camping trips and lazy days at the pool so we kept brushing him off.

He persisted with his desire. That, coupled with the fact that one of our highest priorities is making sure that our kids are getting regular exercise and participating in rec level sports, led us to agree to the track club even though Garrett will miss the last two meets. 

He's been practicing with the team for several weeks. At the first practice, they divided them into sprinters and distance runners, based on the preference of the kids. The sprint group was huge. The distance group was tiny. Our six-year-old just trekked around and around the track over and over again. When he finished that practice, we told him he could be in the sprint group if he wanted to. "No," he said. "My Uncle Jon runs long races."

Of course he also told us that he hates running and didn't want to go back. We told him that he needed to finish up the session--which, for him, was only about a five week commitment. 

We went to his first meet on Thursday night. I've been waiting for them to post the official results so that I could post his official times but it still isn't up. When we got there, we showed him the list of events and asked him what he wanted to do. One of the events that he chose was the 1600m. 

So few kids chose this event that they ran all the age groups together. My son took off at lightning speed, chasing down the teenagers in front of him. You can kind of see it in this video. He's the 
tiny one in the green shirt. 
He came around the first 400 in an unofficial 1:56. I looked down at the stopwatch on the cell phone and knew that his father was going to be peeling him up off the track by lap three. There was no earthly way my rather untrained six-year-old could maintain that pace. Cardiac arrest had to be in his future.

He kept running.

He passed in front of me, finishing the next lap in about 2 minutes.

By the time he completed the third lap, he looked like he was going to die. His cheeks were bright red. He was exhausted. I cheered him on, told him he was doing great, and yelled for him to finish hard. I looked at the clock, he was right at 6 minutes.

And then he finished. 


I clicked the stopwatch for an unofficial time of 7:59. His first race ever. A pretty good time for a little guy.

He was dead tired. He was gasping and choking and almost in tears. But he'd finished strong. He did have another race which didn't have the best results after running almost a mile in under eight minutes. 

Since they haven't posted the results yet, I went to some of the results from last year's meets. In the 8 and under division, that time would have earned him third place at one of the meets. And if he wants to keep running, he's still got another two summers in this division.

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