Noah's main goal was to run the entire distance, something he'd never done before (even in practice, he only ran about two miles). I was extremely confident that the would get a PR. His first 5K time was 43:13, and his second one wasn't timed, but I'm pretty sure it was closer to 50:00 because of the course and the heat.
Eli said his goal was to run the entire distance, which I (as horrible as it sounds) kind of blew off. Eli is VERY lofty with his goals (just yesterday, he asked if he could train for a marathon... and I told him he has to train for a 5K first, haha). I told him that running the 5K was a great goal, because I didn't want to discourage him, but in my mind, I knew that he'd be doing a run/walk, and probably complaining the entire time.
Usually, Jerry is Noah's favorite parent, and I'm Eli's favorite, but Noah really wanted to run with me for some reason. So, the plan was for me to run with Noah and for Jerry to run with Eli. Even though all four of us were doing the race, I was really thinking of it as "Noah's race", because he'd been working hard on training for it through the cross country season.
My plan going in to this for Noah was to pace him at a 12:00/mi pace, just to be sure that he could finish. I didn't want him to go too fast and have to walk, because his goal was not to walk. I was pretty sure that he'd do great with a 12:00/mi pace, and be able to run the entire distance.
We left the house just after Jerry got home from work this morning. I felt bad for him--he worked a 12-hour shift overnight, and then we went to the race. He was super tired, but excited for the kids to do the race. I had gotten a ladybug costume at Goodwill, and Eli had gotten a zombie costume. Noah refused to wear a costume (he's at the age where everything is somehow embarrassing for him) and Jerry just wore a dog hat and mittens. We should have put more thought into the costume ideas, but I didn't think much of it until this morning!
We picked up our packets (race shirts, winter hats, and a canvas bag--nice!) then went to the parking structure next to the park where the race start was. As we were driving to the structure, we somehow were on the race course at the back of the pack. I felt like we were the "sag wagon", so we tried not to creep too close, but it was fun to have been able to see the runners in their costumes.
After we parked, we went into Panera so the kids could eat a bagel, and when they were done, it was time to head over near the race. We watched as the 10K'ers came in, and there were some pretty cool costumes! This one was really unique (a head in a freezer), and later ended up winning the costume contest:
As creative as it is, I can't imagine running a whole 10K in that costume!
When I chose the ladybug costume, I mainly picked it because it would be easy to run in ;)
A few minutes before 9:00, we headed over to the starting line. We got just in front of the 12:00/mi pacer, which I hoped was a good place to start. I tried to get a picture of the four of us at the starting line:
There were three waves to start the 5K, and we happened to be in the second wave section. Five minutes after the first wave, it was our turn to go. Noah said he was super nervous, but I told him there was nothing at all to be nervous about! All he had to do was stick with me, and I'd make sure he didn't go too fast. It was then that he told me he had a secret goal of sub-11:00 miles, because he wanted to finish the race under 33:00 minutes. Hahaha, it would have been nice to have known this ahead of time, but I just readjusted my plan to run at around a 10:55 pace until we got close to the end.
As we crossed the starting line, it was pretty clear we were going too slow. The people around us were walking, so I decided to pick up the pace to get around them, and we were running comfortably at 10:45/mi. The race was so crowded that it was easy to just keep passing people. Noah was doing great, so we just kept going around people, hoping for a clearing that didn't feel so claustrophobic.
We noticed that the 10:00/mi pacer was just ahead of us, and our pace was gradually getting toward the lower-10's. When we hit the first mile split, I saw that our pace was 10:06. Faster than planned, but I figured that would just give us a cushion when Noah inevitable slowed down. Noah said, "Do you think we could pass the 10:00 pacer?" and I said, "Sure, if you want to!" I told him we should do it gradually, and not an all-out sprint. We passed up the pacer, and our second split was at a sub-10:00 pace. We came to the water station at the halfway point, and Noah walked for about 15 seconds to down a cup of water. When we started running again, our pace was still at a 10:02-ish, which was awesome!
We started passing people again, and when we hit mile two, I saw the split was 9:41. So much faster than I'd planned, but I didn't want to hold Noah back from his potential, either. I kept asking him, "How are you doing? Do we need to slow down?" but he just said no, that he was good. He gave me his hat and gloves to carry, because he was hot.
During the third mile, he picked up the pace even more! I was constantly expecting him to tell me that he needed to slow down, or take a walk break, but he never did. I was trying to distract him any way that I could, by telling him stories or telling him how many "laps on the track" we had left. The third mile split was 9:17! (Noah's best mile ever was 9:13 at his last cross country race.)
Once we hit that third mile split, Noah could hear the announcer at the finish line, and he started to recognize that we were right next to the park. He started running his hardest, and I couldn't keep up ;) I yelled to him, "Go Noah! Fast as you can!" and he crossed the finish line WAY ahead of his goal time, in 30:31! His dear old mom crossed a few steps behind, in 30:33 ;)
The 5K'ers didn't get medals for this race (just the 10K'ers did), which was kind of a bummer, because I felt Noah really deserved one; but I had told him ahead of time that he wouldn't get one, and he was okay with that. We grabbed some water, and then headed to the corner to watch for Jerry and Eli. I was expected them to go by at around 45 minutes in (Eli's previous 5K was done in 48:02). I was messing with my phone, to get ready to take pictures, when I saw them right in front of me, running past. They were way ahead of schedule, so I totally missed them going by.
They crossed the finish line in 36:24! Jerry told me that Eli had run the entire race, not even walking at the water stop. I was completely blown away! I had no idea that he could do that. I hugged both the kids, telling them how proud I was, when one of the volunteers saw me and asked if they'd run the 5K. I said yes, and she told me to wait there a minute. She came back with two of the 10K medals to give to the boys! (A friend of mine, who was volunteering at the race, later told me that they had a lot left over). The kids were thrilled that they got a medal, and I was so grateful that she'd recognized how big of a deal it was to them.
Eli was really excited to get the post-race food, because I told him that this race always has Panera bagels. He loves their Asiago bagels, so we headed to the food tent and got our Panera bagels and cookies.
This was the first race that all four of us have done together, and it was fun! Jerry's employer pays for race entries (for employees and their families) on certain local races (including this one), which I think is so cool. What an awesome family thing to do on a weekend!