June 11, 2006
A Great Race
Good afternoon, and welcome to another episode of Proud Mommy. Yesterday was the Princeton Fete, a community fair that serves as a fundraiser for our local heathcare system. After cheering on some of the 10K runners (the course runs right past our house!), we headed off to Princeton Stadium to check out the action at the track. D immediately wanted to know "what those big sand pits are for." A few seconds after my explanation of broadjumping, he was gleefully sprinting down the track and launching himself into the air. But that was just the warm up.
The big event was the one mile "Fun Run," which he participated in last year and was looking forward to signing up for this year as well. Last year, as an almost four year-old, he mostly walked. This year, he was ready. Long jump warmups were followed by stretches. Serious determination at the starting line was accompanied by stern requests: Could he just have his number on his back, because he saw that some of the grownups had it that way? And please could I let him just run, without tagging along? Since the course for the race includes sections on the track and an overland trek across some practice fields, we compromised: I wouldn't run with him, but was allowed to move around so as to keep him in sight. All through the race, I could see people looking at him and wondering where his parents were; a common experience for me as a parent of a determinedly independent child.
He understood that the big goal of the race was achieving a personal best, but his competitive spirit sometimes got the best of him, and he couldn't help stealing occasional looks over his shoulder to reassure himself that he was beating some people. ("Even some grownups, Mommy!")
When he felt himself running out of steam, he walked for a little bit, just as we had talked about, but I think he ran at least three-quarters of the time. And when he crossed the finish line, I thought, "Guess we'll have to pretty much plan on being around this weekend next year."