May 23, 2013

High Country 5K

I realize that the vast majority of you aren't interested in what we did more than a month ago. However, there are like 11 of you who are. Family people.

And you 11 people have been denied the story of Nathaniel's run in the High Country 5K for six weeks now. As it turns out, when one's mother goes to Hawaii for a week, one's mother's blog gets turned upside-down for an indeterminate amount of time and may never catch up again.

What's that you ask? How does one week in Hawaii equate to suddenly being six weeks behind on blog posts?

Shut up.

Although I ran the 5K with Nathaniel and Nick last year, my lack of training this year led me to the decision that I might die if I did it this year. Like actually die. But Nathaniel still wanted to do it on his own, and he was thrilled that his friend and classmate Alex was doing it, too. So they decided to run together.

"Isn't Alex a regular runner?" I asked. "Isn't Alex really physically fit?" I asked. "Doesn't Alex run pretty fast?" I asked.

Yes, yes, yes, Nathaniel answered.


There were lots of runners out there bright and early as Jake and I stood on the sidelines to cheer them on at the starting line that crisp Saturday morning in April.

When the cap gun went off right at 8 a.m., they took off at a brisk pace.

Funnily enough, I took two random pictures of the runners up close as they took off. In this one I happened to catch the 5K's eventual first-place finisher (whom I don't know), #151 in the blue tank.

And in this one, I happened to catch Nathaniel, just to the right of the girl in the neon yellow shirt. I had no idea where he was in the crowd, so that was just dumb luck.

Jake was really excited up to the point where the runners got out of sight. Then he was like, "What do we do now, Mommy."

He was not terribly pleased when I answered, "We wait about 45 minutes for Nathaniel to get back."

I spent the next 30 minutes answering him when he asked, "How much longer NOW?"

I was utterly SHOCKED when Nathaniel appeared over the last hill at about the 32-minute mark. Last year he finished in 41 minutes, which I thought was pretty good. This year he was so far ahead of that time that I almost missed him coming in!

My surprise at seeing him immediately changed to concern when I saw how exhausted he looked. I wondered why in the world he'd pushed himself so hard ... he looked like he was going to collapse or be sick at any second.

He may not look ill to you, but he looked really ill to me. I was yelling encouraging words to him, running alongside him as he jogged the last 50 yards to the finish line, hoping he wouldn't fall down.

I had assumed he wouldn't stay with Alex -- THE SUPER-RUNNER -- the whole race. But he did.

That's Alex in the citron shirt right in front of him.

As it turned out, Alex slowed his own pace down to stay with Nathaniel, and Nathaniel sped his pace up to stay with Alex. Awww.

That led to Nathaniel finishing eight minutes ahead of his 2012 time, and to Alex finishing who-knows-how-much slower.

As Nathaniel crossed the finish line, he veered sharply to the right, leaned against a telephone pole, fell to his knees and threw up in the grass for over a minute.

I'm sure that was super-healthy.

But within three minutes he was up, smiling and ready to rehydrate.

Crazy kid.

Here's proud Nathaniel (and I'm just now noticing he's still holding the baby wipe I gave him to wipe the spittle away from his face) with perturbed Jake.

Jake really expected balloon animals and a free breakfast. Not 30 minutes of standing around waiting, only to watch his brother throw up.

But, good times! See? This is what you waited six weeks for.

Fine. Form a line over there behind Jake.

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