Saturday, November 13, 2010

Passing The Torch

I couldn't have asked for a better way to hang up my running shoes for awhile. This morning, my oldest daughter and I ran the 2-mile Fowl Fun Run in Mount Vernon, WA. I ran the 10k there last year and really enjoyed it. At that race, both of my daughters said they wanted to run the 2 mile ”next year“ (meaning this year), but my youngest unfortunately got sick yesterday and wasn't able to make it.

Rain was in the forecast, but a drop never fell all morning. It was overcast and in the upper 40's at race time, but felt a little cooler due to a persistent wind.

My job was to pace Natalie through the race and see what she could do, both time-wise and age-group-wise. My loose goal for her (based on what I've seen her do in training) was to run sub-18 minutes. We hit the first mile in 8:35. I kept pulling a bit too far in front of her, so I backed off a few times while still encouraging her to keep her form clean and hold the pace. With about a half mile left, we saw a girl we knew was in her age group starting to take walk breaks. I turned to Natalie and said “here's where we pass her.” We did just that, and picked up the pace. With about 100m left, there were two young boys in front of us. Natalie took off (leaving me in the dust) in an attempt to chick them. One beat her, but she beat the other one. I stayed behind the three of them and crossed a second later. Natalie ran a nice negative split (8:34 second mile) to finish in an official 17:23. And, best of all, she came away with an age-group victory (out of 7 girls)*

To me, this was more important than the time. At the start of her running career, it's great to provide some opportunities for her to build her confidence and her enthusiasm for running. Not every race will offer a chance for a division win, but a few of these results here and there should keep the fire stoked nicely.

Needless to say, I'm proud — elated — with her performance. It was special to finally run my first road race with one of my kids. If she continues down this path, there will come a time (fighting it as I might) where she will “chick” me.

Dad, with ”the Champ”
When I'm at a road race, immersed in the atmosphere, I'm always reminded how much I love this sport. I feel like I belong to this group of people, diverse as they (we) may be. Any bitterness I may have felt upon my official diagnosis has passed, but as you'd expect, I'm a bit sad that this will be the end of my running for awhile. However, I'm also excited to start down the road to recovery and get back out there, healthy and ready!

In the meantime, I'll run vicariously through you, my friends, and my future star daughter (sorry, no pressure intended)!

*and, in a random drawing, she won a HUGE pumpkin pie!


  1. Way to go Dad. There is nothing more inspiring than being an inspiration to others, especially our children. Great job Colin.

  2. Nice work. These are the moments that I assume make all of the diapers worth it. At least that is what I am hoping for.

    Way to start your down-time off right with a huge pie!

  3. This is really awesome! I think this is just perfect timing for you as well. Nothing better than positive experiences with your kids. Have a good week!

  4. That is so cute. Few things in life gave me more joy than watching my daughter play sports and enjoy herself. Very special moment for you I'm sure. Now, don't let that picture remain a .jpg. Print it.

  5. Way to go! Your daughter and you are great!

    I'm reminded with your story of proudly seeing my daughter's middle 400 meter race and seeing her pick-up the pace strongly in the final leg. You're absolutely right about enjoying the atmosphere and the people that turn-out for running races.

  6. Awesome. Great that you had this chance with your daughter. She will remember it for the rest of her life I am sure.

  7. I love it that you were able to share this with your daughter! Cute picture...your daughter is beautiful:)

  8. (yes, I know it has been almost a month - just catching up)

    Congrats, this is very cool. As you well know I love the whole daddy/daughter thing with running, it is very cool to pass this sport on to our kids!