Running With My Son...
Washington DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon
When I left work on Thursday, I told my co-teacher, that he was going to have to live without me for a day. It went something like this:
Co-teacher: What are you up to now?!
E: Off to DC to run a half marathon with my son and his friend.
Co-teacher: Do you ever get tired of inspiring people?
E: You know that’s not why I do this. I just want the memory with my son.
Co-teacher: I’m pretty sure that you are going to do both.
But, memory building truly was what I was seeking. Noah is not ready to leave the nest, but with only two years left of high school, I can certainly see the outline of his flight pattern.
I had planned this trip months ago, with the idea that my kid would run his first marathon, with mom by his side as coach, cheerleader, and crew. A few weeks ago, Noah approached me, worried. With hockey up to six days a week, tennis, and a full load as an honor student, there just wasn’t time to train for a marathon. He was anxious with how I would take the news. His worries were in vain.
All it took was a couple of e-mails and a few phone calls, and we had switched gears. We were both going to run the half marathon and we were bringing a good friend along to share in the fun. We were going to enjoy all that DC had to offer with no succinct plans or agendas. I push my children, as hard as I push myself. Noah and I both lead over-scheduled lives. But, this weekend was to be our time to relax, laugh, bond, and cut loose.
Back to Thursday. We weren't free yet, we still had some over-scheduling to take care of: first, karate practice with Natalie, then tournament hockey time for Noah. His team broke a losing streak, in no small part due to Noah’s play. (If only that kid could spend less time in the box for slashing…ugh.) After a few hours sleep, the three of us somehow were on the road. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a more enjoyable car trip. My stomach actually hurt from laughing so much.
We hit the ground running in DC. The armory, Ford’s theatre, Natural History Museum, American History Museum, Air and Space Museum, dinner at Hard Rock Café, walking around the reflecting pool, visiting monuments, a hysterical moment with Noah that just can’t be printed here, (but will go down in family lore) swimming back at the hotel…we covered a lot of ground. I was running on shear will alone, but having too much fun to put the breaks on any of it.
We woke up early again the next morning to prep for the race. We froze at the start, but were still enjoying our camaraderie. I told the boys that I planned on just running, not racing, and that they could find their own pace, and enjoy what the course brought them. This brought on a bit of good-natured trash talking. Really, Noah, you’re gonna talk about my mother….game on.
The gun went off and I left the kids in my dust. They may beat me, but I was going to make them earn it. I held my lead until mile 7, when out of the blue, Noah gave me a stinging five star, a wink, and a “see ya’ Mom”. Dang kid.
I ran my race, taking in the sights and sounds, until I came to mile 12. Could it be? Oh yes, I had caught up to the boys. Out of 40,000 runners, I happened to spot the kid whose stride mechanics eerily match mine. I got to return the five star, the wink, and add a “hi honey---did you miss me?”. YES!
The boys were doing okay, but looking like the finish line would be a relief. We decided to run together, and finish together. I would take the lead and set the pace. It was then I heard those three little words that made the entire trip worthwhile for me: “SLOW DOWN MOM!”.
We finished hand in hand in hand. Amazing doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling.
After a nap for the boys, and a fattening lunch, we were tourists again. Although neither boy would ever admit to it, a tour of the capital and the Library of Congress was about all their legs could handle. Watching them try and ‘man up’ with every flight of stairs was actually quite comical.
We spent a quiet night at the hotel, where the boys rallied and engaged in mischief, and I got to sit by a nice warm fire in the lobby, reflecting on just how powerful some memories can be.
The ride home the next day was just as fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations where attempting the marathon next year became a real possibility. The boys had an ‘anything is possible’ aura about them. I'm hoping that Noah carries that feeling into the remainder of the hockey game he is playing as I type this. Our break from over-scheduling is officially over.
In the end, maybe my co-teacher was right. I got to have a weekend of wonderful memories with my son and his friend, and maybe, just maybe they found the inspiration to do more.