Last weekend I had the pleasure of running with Jose (or 'J-man') in his very first ever race, the Santa Monica Classic 5K (and 10K). J-man and I have known each other since he turned 6 back in 2006 and when I officially became his 'Big' through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
We'd mostly just hang out and go on outings during the times we'd meet up, but on occasion, he'd come with me on some of my runs riding beside me on his bicycle. Never wanted to pressure him into running with me, but after making the suggestion of running a race together one day, he lit up and definitely wanted in. So last Sunday, we found ourselves toeing the line of his first race.
The kid did a great job. The 1st mile went by without a hitch but he definitely struggled some as the race wore on and in the last mile and half, I had to push him a little (our longest training run was a 2 miler). We ended up crossing the line together with both of us beaming with pride. Our official time was a very pedestrian 38:06, but more importantly I wanted to instill in him the will and fortitude it takes to finish a difficult task and that the payoff is worth it in the end.
Crossing the finish! (photo courtesy of Rich Cruse)
Not sure if the running thing will take with him, but my hope more importantly were the indirect lessons that come from crossing that finish line in spite of the blood, sweat and tears you shed to get there. Ok, maybe that's a bit dramatic for a 5K...but you get the picture.
Anyway, damn proud of that kid. He did good.
This upcoming weekend, I'm setting out on a whole different kind of venture. Thanks to the coordination of a couple of members of the Trail Runners Club, about a dozen or so of us will be embarking on a 'Rim to Rim' (approx ~21 miles) run of the Grand Canyon on Saturday.
Reading about this experience through others, including many who've done the Rim to Rim to Rim - or approximately 42 (!) miles - only fueled my desire to embark on this once in a lifetime adventure. It promises to be difficult, hot (think 80-90s in the canyon) and an absolute blast. I will no doubt be carrying lots of fluid (my Nathan pack + a couple of bottles), food + gels and of course, my camera.
Full report if/when I make it back.