You saw the picture on Sunday.
Nathan looked “all grown up” – ready to attempt his first 1-mile fun run. He was looking at the camera, smiling broadly, as if to say, “I got this.”
The reality? Not quite as smooth as you might expect.
It was a last-minute decision to put him in the race. Sarah Kate did this same fun run a year ago, and although it was advertised as a mile, in truth it was only about three-quarters of that. We asked him if he’d like to run, and receiving an enthusiastic response (“ESSS!!!”), we signed him up.
Before the race started, he ran up and down the finish chute numerous times. He inspected the granola bar table. He bolted off the street into the grass. He amused numerous spectators and volunteers while helping me not cool down from the 5K I’d just finished.
At long last, we lined up at the start.
I pointed out the lady with the air horn who would start the race. She slowly called out, “Runners, get ready ….. get set ….. ” and Nathan, not wishing to wait even a few seconds longer, shouted out, “GO!” After some laughter from the small gathered group of runners, we were off.
He took off, laughing the whole way. We ran past spectators – he laughed. We ran past volunteers – he laughed. Eventually, he ran out of steam and decided he was kinda done and decided to walk off the course. I picked him up instead and carried him a short distance, then he was ready to go again.
A little before the turnaround point, the last runner (other than Nathan) passed us, and we turned around. He was sagging quite a bit by that time and I didn’t want to have to carry him the rest of the way to the finish. The sag wagon golf cart pulled up alongside us and offered to let him ride, but I declined.
Then came the finish.
When he saw the finish chute just ahead, he took off, laughing again. He went barreling into the chute, blew right past the lady giving out finisher ribbons, and threw his arms around the volunteer at the end of the chute who had leaned down to cheer encouragement. She hugged him back briefly, then started to let go and stand up … except that Nathan wasn’t letting go, and had picked up his feet.
“Oh. So you want me to pick you up?” she laughed.
And bless her, she did. Thank goodness for sweet volunteers who play along.