Friday, July 13, 2012

Chasing Caleb

The Peter's Canyon Trail Run Series is a set of three races that takes place on a Thursday evening in June, July, and August. I love this five mile trail run, although it is a tough course with some brutal hills. It is a family-friendly event that starts and ends at a beautiful park and they even have a BBQ afterwards. Don't come for the food - it is not nearly at the caliber of the race, but who feels like cooking after a five mile trail run.

This year I did not feel like doing the race because I knew I was not in my best shape and it is hard to do the same race without improving. But I managed to put the competitive spirit behind me and thought it would just be a good training run and a chance to run with my buddy Angelica.

We showed up to the race and Angelica looked a little panicked with her two kids in tow. Her husband did not make it home in time to take over kid duty. Her fourteen year old daughter, Micaela, had just joined the cross country team and planned to run the race, but what to do with eight year old Caleb? He kept saying he wanted to run it. Five mile? Seriously. Angelica and I kind of looked at each other and shook our heads. Sure he is an athletic kid, but five miles?

Angelica finally decided to go ahead and let him try. She figured she would end up hiking him in during the second half and that would be better than no race at all for her.

When the gun fired, he took off. (Well, after the 60 seconds it took the crowd to get to the start line.) He kept in stride with us and even worked ahead a bit. We warned him to pace himself, but seriously, he is eight. After the first mile he was still going strong and I decided to just keep with him and let Angelica reel him in. He did the "speed up and slow down" thing that is typically of kids, but he managed to stay with me. He complained, boy did that kid complain! "My side hurts, my throat hurts, I think I might throw up." Some of maternal women around me got concerned that there was a kid on the trail who might hurl, but I said "He's fine." Really, I am not a sadist, I could tell he really was fine. He kept talking and running, would walk a few steps, then run to catch up. And he did get a lot of attention for being the youngest runner out there.

We reached the half way point, the turn around, the point where the hills began and Caleb was still with me. He had to walk up some hills, but did not lose any ground. Then came the downhill and he took off! The kid had no brakes! I was not even slightly worried about him until now, as I yelled "Caleb, be careful!" All that previous belly aching he did the first few miles did not concern me at all, but he scared the bejeesus out of me when he blazed downhill at full speed. I kept expecting him to trip and fall head over heals, but he maintained. I could see him but could not catch him for the rest of the race.

Yeah, he beat me. I got beaten by an eight year old doing his first five mile trail run. He beat us all, actually, but I wasn't ashamed. My time was decent and I was so proud of Caleb. He is already a great runner and I know he will just be phenomenal as he gets older. I hope he always remembers the race he where he left his "Aunt" Donna in the dust. (FYI - Caleb's time was about 53 minutes for five tough miles.)

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