Saturday, November 24, 2012

Eason's Race, My Mission

When Eason was 8 years old he ran in our town's 1 mile Turkey "Fun" Run in 9:30. It wasn't too difficult for him and I suggested that we try the 5k in the following Spring Derby. He did not think he would need to practice, saying that he ran around all the time. I explained that running around casually was not the same as running such a long race. Sure enough when the time came he wound up having to walk almost half the race, finishing 3.1 miles in just over 38 minutes.

The good part is that he agreed to start training. The following summer we would jog together around the lake. At first he struggled with half a lap, but gradually his endurance increased. Soon he was able to do two laps. The goal was 40 minutes of jogging. When the summer and the weekend trips to the bungalow were over we started running on the weekends at home. Eventually he was running 40 minutes without stopping, not getting too tired, and beating me in the final sprints. He was ready for the race.

Neither of us were prepared for how cold it was that day. It was difficult to warm up without wearing ourselves out. When the race finally started we paced ourselves, but not so much as to fall behind. After only the first mile two things happened: my calf injury, that had been gone for so long, reappeared, and Eason started complaining about his throat. When I say complain, I mean full on I can't breathe drama. My response to his running complaints has always been the same: if it doesn't seem like an injury that could get worse if you keep running, then keep running. After explaining that he could breathe and should keep running, his complaints turned to fists-in-his-eyes bawling.

Meanwhile, I wanted to cry myself. It was too painful for me to push off on my foot so I had to land flat footed and push off with my heel the entire time. I felt like a broken old man..., but my son was right next to me and I decided I would keep in to myself and I was not going to stop.

Almost a mile later Eason's tears had subsided, but he started complaining about his shoulder. I suggested he keep his arms in a little tighter, watch his breathing, and keep running.

In the last mile Eason said he leg was bothering him. This was something I took seriously. Knowing Eason I didn't think it was anything serious, but you never know. I asked him how bad it was. I reminded him, as I had throughout the race, that we had done this before in training. We knew he could do it. We didn't have that much more to and I suggested he keep going if he could. I told him once we get there we could lay down in the grass and we wouldn't have to run anymore.

After 3.2 miles we made it to the finish line in just over 36 minutes without stopping. We were both exhausted and we were both proud. Afterwards when we were telling Aviva about the race she asked why we didn't stop. I asked Eason about it. I asked Eason how he felt about it. I asked Eason if he wished we would have stopped. He answered us emphatically "No. I'm glad I didn't stop."

Mission accomplished!

1 comment:

  1. This time we accomplished three goals:
    1) no stopping
    2) no injuries
    3) no tears

    Eason Kamander
    didn't get tired until about two miles, but he never complained. Around
    the final tenth I told him to sprint, and he took off so fast I could
    not keep up with him. According to his stopwatch he finished in 30:30!

    Later we went to do the 1 mile run with Andi and Aviva. My muscles were so shot I couldn't run the whole thing, but Eason found some friends to compete with and tied the fastest of them, finishing in 8 minutes.


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