This morning our family participated in the 2nd annual Run B4 the Fun, a non-timed, 5K, fun run to raise money for Relay for Life. We participated last year and found it to be a really fun experience so it was with great excitement that I registered our entire family (plus Caleb who is staying with us for the weekend) for this year's event. Since the boys are 9, we gave them the privilege of running the race sans a chaperone provided they stay together at all costs. Alli and Katie were designated to me, with Curt taking Paige, who at the ripe age of 4 years old was adamant that she was going to run the entire way. No stroller for her.
The Run B4 The Fun, at least for our family, would be more aptly titled Run B4 The Crabby Fest. We left later than we should have and arrived at Joan Austin Elementary (the start and finish line) about 60 seconds before the race started. Paige didn't even have her shoes on. We dashed to the starting line as the countdown began.
All four of our kids got their new summer sneakers this week - part water shoe, part sneaker. They wear them all summer long to hike, ride bikes, play in the water and everything in between. Problem is, they weren't broken in yet and we forgot to bring band aids. We couldn't have been further than 1/3 of the mile into the run when Kaitlin and Alli started in with the drama. The wailing and gnashing of teeth over newly formed blisters was so over the top, it was funny. They both collapsed on the lawn of the closest church and while they cried and adjusted and readjusted their shoes, I prayed for empathy, patience and the ability to encourage my very capable daughters. They got up, settled into a nice rhythm and the next two miles flew by with very little drama.
The second water table had band aids and we threw a little party. While we were slapping band aids any place they could show raw skin, Daddy and Paige caught up. Paige, who is normally a ray of sunshine, woke up on the wrong side of the bed. From the minute she opened her eyes she was the Crab Master General. Curt made the mistake of telling Paige he would carry her if she got tired, so after the first water station (about a mile in), she took him up on his offer. Bless his heart, I look up and see all six-feet-three-inches of him lumbering down the street with Paige, smiling for the first time all morning, perched on his shoulders. She got down and ran across the George Fox campus and then resumed her place on Daddy's shoulders for the remainder of the race.
Alli fell off the pace and decided to finish with Curt and Paige while Kaitlin and I bonded until her finish line meltdown. We could see the balloons and she went from gleeful to tears in .2 seconds. Her side hurt, her back hurt, her feet hurt, and she did NOT under any circumstances want Grant and Caleb (who made sure to tell us they finished ten minutes ahead of us) to cheer her on to the finish. I mean who doesn't scream at their adoring fans as they shout encouragement?
Caleb, who is very athletic and competitive, wanted to be the first kid to finish the race. Grant, who was sulking because we made him change out of his church clothes into workout clothes for the race, didn't care where he finished. Given the fact that we made them promise to stick together, I'd say their experience was a lesson in compromise. Caleb never wanted to stop running. Grant would have preferred more breaks. They finished within 20 seconds of each other and are still friends so I'd consider it successful!
Alli came across the finish line about ten minutes after Katie. She proudly displayed even more band aids that she'd collected along the route and said with a deep breath, "Whew! That was a big 5K." She also made sure to tell us in the car coming home that "it wasn't fun and she was NOT doing that again next year." Paige and Curt eventually came into view and Paige ran across the finish line to hoops and hollers and she was oh-so-proud of herself.
After the race, they drew names for prizes and to our surprise, Paige's name was the first one called. Her excitement over being a winner quickly turned to confusion when they handed her an an Incredible Hulk action figure and a Superman action figure. Caleb was also a lucky winner and he won a hand-made pillow case from the craft fair, just what he always wanted.
I took pictures after the race which of course incited a riot among the kids. They didn't want to stand by so-and-so, they didn't want to put their shoes back on over blistered feet, and Paige who wanted no part in putting her new T-shirt over her fancy outfit pouted heartily for every photo. I'm telling you folks, it was a good time. Want to join us next year?