Last weekend My 12 year old Grandson John and I ran a 5k benefiting St. PJ’s children’s home. Driving over to the event I asked him if he’d like for each of us to run our own race or would he like us to run together. Let’s run together he said. OK that’s good. I then explained the whole pacing and saving some energy for the later stages of the run concept. I told him to think about how long three miles were. He’d run a one miler before, so I said, triple that.
We stood around waiting for the start going over our plan to start off at an easy pace then speed up after we warm up. The field of runners seemed to consist of more teens and pre-teens than adults. The race started on the Campus of St. Peter’s, Saint Joseph’s Children’s home and would wind through a portion of the Mission trail straddling the San Antonio River just south of San Antonio’s downtown. This is a pretty and peaceful paved trail that takes runners and bicyclist to all of the old Spanish Missions built in the 18 century. The horn blew and runners took off running full speed, and so did John! I laughed and knew I’d see him soon. Sure enough, at the one mile marker there he is. I passed a walking John, waving and saying, “Remember what we talked about. Take it easy and pace yourself. See you at the end!” After I crossed the finish line I grabbed some water and headed back out to find John. I ran into him about half a mile from the finish and asked if he needed water. “YES!” he said. I laughed and he smiled. John drank some water and we trotted to the finish of his first 5K.
Over our breakfast of Pancakes and sausage, served at the race, we again talked about the importance of pacing. Maybe next time John will take my advice. Maybe. We did not talk about running for a fast time. Although John's finishing time of 30:14 is respectable. But as my good friend Liza said in a recent interview on Trailrunner Nation, " At the end of your life, who CARES how fast you ran anything!"
The best thing about running at a race with my grandson for the first time was, He liked It! I hope it's the beginning of a love for running. A love he and I can share.