When I was growing up, there was a commercial that tried to encourage prayer. The commercial showed a family praying. It closed with the phrase “The family that prays together, stays together”. Leaving aside what I thought of the commercial, or the idea of selling prayer as a way to connect a family, the motto has stayed with me. Recently, as my wife and some of our children have joined me in running, I have been trying to think of a similarly catchy phrase. “The family that runs together, has fun together”? Definitely not a keeper. “The family that runs fast together, lasts together”? Obviously, I have a long way to go.
Yesterday, only one week after the marathon, I, along with four of our children, got to sit on the sidelines and cheer on my wife, as she ran a 5K. Then a short while later, I got to “pace” our 6 year old daughter in a one miler, while her older sister ran solo, not needing my help.
Although my wife finished in 28:30, a time that was disappointing for her, I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines for a change rooting her on. From the first time I ran three years ago (35:28 at the same race) Rochie has given me nothing but encouragement. She has put up with my obsession with running, and the costs, both monetary and time, that come with it.
After Rochie caught her breath, it was time for the one mile run. Maayan, the child who is most likely to run a marathon with me one day, has the makings of a great runner. She is thin, full of energy, and like her mom, very determined. In the past she has done the run-walk method; running as hard as she could, until she could no longer breathe, and then having to walk, before breaking out, once again, in a mad sprint. We decided (by “we” I mean me) that her goal for the race would be to go slower but to run the whole time. While we ran, she gave a running commentary (“Look at that little boy. His t-shirt is almost as big as he is”), while I tried my best to get her to look where she was going. Although her breathing was a bit heavy, and I told her she could slow down a bit, she kept on running. Without 1/10th of a mile to go, we saw her older sister up ahead, who was walking a bit. I called out that she better start running if she wanted to beat her younger sister. She broke into a sprint and managed to finish in 10:29 good for 10th in her age group. 17 seconds later, with a finishing kick of which I can only be envious, Maayan crossed the line, placing 6th in her age group.
As we drove home after the race, everyone was chatting excitedly, even our two youngest who are not yet old enough to run. I tried to work on my slogan (I couldn’t even figure out what could rhyme with “The family that races together”). I couldn’t come up with anything, but I am not worried. We have time to work on it.
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