Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Hobbler

What do I look like when I am running, crying, and clapping at the same time?
Oh hey, thanks to my dad, now we know!

Wow, fabulous.
But you know what, that is one of my favorite pictures right now.

I mentioned that fabulous half marathon I ran with my son Jacob.  He is 10 years old.  Ten!  The thought of running 13 miles would never ever have even crossed my mind when I was 10, and he just did it!  That picture is from the finish, when he saw the finish line and took off like a shot.  This was me a few seconds behind him cheering him in.  It was such an amazing moment.

It's been a couple of weeks since this race, I tend to stink at recapping lately.

Both Alaina (11) and Jacob mentioned a number of months ago that they wanted to do a half marathon or even a marathon this year.  Knowing people who started running marathons early, I would be willing to entertain that possibility for them, but I wanted them to start appropriately and not just try to jump in to that.  After mulling it over with Aaron, I told them that we would agree to them running a half this year, but would not register them until they had run at least five miles.  Running 3 or 4 seems to be ok for them but I needed to know they would work to get past that point and continue to the point of readiness for a longer distance.

I had been eyeing the Hobbler Half for it's timing and course, I've heard good things about this race (aside from the uphill at the end.  mean.), and it's in a beautiful place.  It's a canyon race but not nearly as steep as the one I ran in June, so I figured it would be a nice easy run to start with.

Jacob passed the 5 mile mark and decided he wanted to keep going, so we signed him up.

There was some serious excitement as we counted down to race day, but he had a hard time keeping up with some of the runs.  I didn't push him to stick to a schedule because it was becoming a chore and I didn't want that for him.  He still kept up with decent runs, a couple of shorter runs each week and a longer run on the weekend, but I think it helped him to not feel like he *had* to go run exactly this mileage on this day.  We hit a couple of snags in the time leading up to the race and his long runs didn't quite happen as we had planned, but I knew if I could get him to 10mi he would be ok.
It wasn't until the week before the race that he hit the 10mi mark, and he struggled through the first couple of miles of that run-he did not like getting up super early to get that in, but by the end of the run he was absolutely cruising and loving it!  (I posted a little clip on the Facebook page if you missed it)
(after his first double digit run)
I knew he was ready for the race.

Based on his time running 10 miles, I figured he would be able to run pretty close to the 2hr mark in the half, especially with a downhill course.  

It's a good thing I had gotten him up a little early for the 10 miler, because race day was really early. Yikes.
(when I see these kinds of numbers on my alarm clock, I question my sanity)
He was nervous and quiet on the bus ride to the start.  or maybe he was just half asleep still.  
Things started on a high note with the start line festivities including Jacob winning a free entry for next year's race because he was the youngest runner there!  He frequently talks about "next year when I run Hobbler...".  Makes me smile.
This is us at the start-and I just now realized that my cousins photobombed the background!  ha!  The guy with dark hair in the middle at the top is my cousin, the girl in the bright green tank behind me is my other cousin's wife.  And there is one more hiding behind my big head.  Hi Shawnie! Sorry my head is hiding your cute face!  I had forgotten they were running till we saw them there that morning.  Always fun to see people you know.  

We started out with the 2:10 pacer, I want him to learn early to go out easy and build up as the race goes.  The first couple of miles he had a great pace and there were a handful of times when I suggest that he slow things down just a little bit and see how he felt about speeding up in another mile or so.

He continued along fabulously, and by mile 5 we were right near the 2:00 pacer.

At about mile 6 I suggested he fuel up, he told me he felt fine and wasn't hungry.  I made him eat anyway!  The last thing I wanted was for him to crash near the end, I wanted to keep him feeling good through the whole race.

One thing I did not expect about this course-especially because it is a canyon course-was that it was rolling!  It was super pretty up there.
I expected some parts of it to flatten out as just about every other canyon does, but I had not looked closely at the elevation chart to see that it rolls up and down quite a bit for most of the middle miles.  I worried that it would burn Jacob out, but that boy just kept on trucking.

I continually asked him "is this pace ok for you?" and "are you feeling ok still?"  and it was always an enthusiastic "Yep!" in reply.

He was asked continually along the course "how old are you?!"  by anyone we passed, and both spectators and other runners cheered him on the entire time.  It was so fun!  And it really kept him perked up even as it started getting warm and he was getting a little tired by the end.

One of my favorite moments of the day was around mile 11.  It was really warming up at that point, we were both sweating buckets, and all around us people were slowing to walk and catch their breath.  As we kept on just running by, many of them watching this young kid in disbelief, he randomly shouted "wow-I LOVE running!  And I'm born to be a runner-it's in my blood!"  Totally cracked me up!
We weren't stopping at every aid station for a drink, though I did really encourage him to hit every other one.  He decided he didn't want to walk through them, explaining to me instead that it was more efficient to keep running, throw the water at his face while holding his mouth open, and get a combination quick drink/face cool down all at the same time.  Whatever works!  I slowed to walk at mile 12 to grab a water cup and had to pick it up to catch up to him again!  Aside from a few steps at a couple of aid stations, he didn't walk at all!
The boy was in his groove and just truckin'.

The uphill that comes after mile 12 is tricky.  He was tired and I could tell it was getting harder for him to hold his pace, but he kept on.  He talked himself through it (out loud), with a lot of "I can do this.  I can do this.  Come on legs, don't stop yet, we're almost there!"  I hope that everyone around us found it as entertaining and motivating as I did and wasn't annoyed by it.

Once we turned the corner at the top of that hill it was a nice little downhill stretch to the finish line in a park.  We turned, then made the turn into the park.  Once he saw that finish  He found a fire in him that blew me away!  He picked up his pace and just flew through that last little bit!  It was amazing!

I am SO glad my parents were there so that I have these pictures, they are priceless!

Look at that determination!
(There are some other super awesome finish line pics of him here, outgunning some guy for the finish!  You can search by his bib number 1298.)
I was totally blown away that he made the sub 2, he finished at 1:55:30!  SO awesome!
The guys MC-ing the event were great, since they had made such a big deal about Jacob being the youngest runner at the beginning I snagged them at the finish to let them know how great he did, and they pulled him up on stage to celebrate.  Plus he won an awesome electric toothbrush for it.  He loved it.
He got to relive the spotlight when they did the age group awards, this time obliging the requested victory dance.  So funny.
It was such a treat to run this race with him, for a number of reasons.
It's always awesome to do something great with your kids. It's always awesome to watch them thrive.
It was even better to see the excitement in his face and the sense of accomplishment he felt from this.  He struggles to focus in a lot of areas, he gets sidetracked and distracted very easily and that frustrates him.  For him to have found the focus and determination to do something like this and not only follow it through to the end but to blow away everyone's expectations was such a boost to him!

 And of course he still had energy to go play in the bounce house and on the slide after running his first half marathon in under two hours.
  Crazy kid.


Kristen L said...

Wow!! He did fantastic! What a wonderful moment to share with your son. :)

Unknown said...

Catey - this is motherhood at its finest! I can see why that pic is your current favorite - because its not a picture of you. It is a picture of your son reflected in you! Great story!

Cheyenne and Seth and Co. said...

"Flaming June's" comment is perfect. What an incredible experience. Thank you for sharing this :)

Jane said...

What an amazing and wonderful experience, and what a great kid!!!!