For me, there are few things more enjoyable than running outdoors, enjoying the fresh air and changing scenery. I’ve been making a consistent effort to decrease the amount of time it takes me to run a set distance and go at a faster pace. One of my favorite routes is along the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers in Downtown Easton.
When the sun peeks out of the clouds in the morning and the water is calm, everyday stresses slowly fade with each step along the winding path and each mile I put behind me.
So when the opportunity came about to do the “Free Range 5K race” in Easton to benefit the local farmers market, I decided it would be fun to try it with my son, Ethan, who’s 3. It’s a good way to start them off young, I thought.
He’s a good runner and it’s surprising how fast those little legs can carry him.
I’ve been running for years but just started entering 5K races this year. It’s fun to do a competitive race and see how fast you can run three miles with a big crowd. I was happy to see a few young kids in the group joining the seasoned vets.
As we entered the throngs of runners and walkers, I knew it would be a new experience for both of us. What if he complained? What if he got tired? What if I had to carry him?
Naturally, I knew I’d dial back my speed to do it at his pace.
So when the starting boom went off, so were we.
He started off really well and the other runners commented on his stamina. We pounded down the sidewalk, rounded the bridge and followed the path that would take us to the midway point where we would turn around.
Along the way, we stopped, we walked. We ran a little more. He admired the river. Despite my good-natured nudging to “pick up your pace!” he found it more interesting to pause and throw a few pebbles in the river. Then he stopped near the mid-way point to talk to the driver of a cool little truck she had parked alongside the path to monitor the progress of the participants as they emerged from the canopy of woods and descended upon the water station. I was happy the driver helped us find one of the hidden golden eggs along the path that contained a little prize, another plus.
Finally, we made it to the mid-point, turned back and yes, at some point, I did have to carry him.
Because the truck was herding us out, following close behind us as we were the last runners to head back!
Needless to say, when we did make it to the finish line, they weren’t keeping times anymore and most of the participants were enjoying the jolt of post-race euphoria that comes to many of us. Weyerbacher beer samples were sampled while my son got a banana.
My son asked me, “We didn’t win, did we?”
And I laughed and said, “No, but we had fun, didn’t we?”
He smiled and nodded.
While I concentrate on increasing my speed with each race and constantly think about how to improve my time, my son helps me remember, that sometimes, it’s fun to just run.