A couple of weeks ago, my daughter decided that she wanted to run the Manchester Road Race again. It had been a couple of years since we first ran it and I thought it would be fun. It would be just her and I running since neither my wife nor son had any interest. There was the thought that this would be a run and not a walk, but my daughter’s hips have really started bothering her lately (it’s a persistent, nagging issue for her). So, run, walk, or some combination would be fine. I got to spend a couple of hours 1-on-1 with my baby girl. We would start in the 40-minutes and up coral, the last of the running corals. I’m not sure where we were in that coral, but probably too close to the front for the run/walk effort we were about to undertake. The distance is a strange (to us) 4.748 miles, surely with some interesting history behind that specific distance.

With the temperatures in the upper 20s and a blustery, northwestern wind, we left the house shortly after 8 AM. We headed to our local Dunkin’ Donuts to get her a peppermint mocha hot coffee; nothing for me since I had my share of coffee before leaving the house. Knowing that we would be waiting around for an hour or more in the freezing cold was motivation enough for me not to need to find a port-o-potty before running. We arrived at Manchester Community College’s parking lot by 8:30 and promptly found our way to the bus that would take us to the race. We were surely not dressed warm enough – a few top layers including a windbreaker, hats, gloves, and leggings with shorts on top. I was wearing my Injinji toe socks, like with any long run or race. Without anyone else with us, we had no one we could hand off our extra clothes, meaning we would need to carry anything we brought for the entire race. This was a mistake, causing us to underdress for the very blustery morning of standing around.

We arrived in the area and walked through a wicked breeze to the starting coral. We had an hour to go and we were both already freezing cold. Fortunately, the 15,000 other runners helped to break the wind but unfortunately, didn’t do much to warm us up. It would be a long wait to the start. Finally, the sun rose above the buildings to provide a slight warm up, but not enough that we were warm by a long stretch. As the minutes clicked by, it was finally time for the (three) wheelchair competitors to start. Just 15 minutes more.

The coral fences were removed and a few minutes later, the starting gun was finally fired. We were off, although neither of us could feel our toes by then. Whisked off with the fury of a normal starting line, we ran down the first street and made the first turn. It was then that my daughter’s hip popped and really started hurting. We were walking. We ran a few more times but mostly walked until the end.

While we did not end up with fast times, we got to spend more than an hour walking together and chatting a bit. I won’t have these opportunities forever, so take each one I can. I am thankful on this holiday season, that I get to spend times like this with at least one of my children. Next year, who knows how things will play out, so living in the moment is the best I can do for now.

I had a busy fall, running two half marathons and one 4.75 mile race on Thanksgiving day. The two half marathons were numbers 2 and 3 for me, and included 100% solo training. Running through the back roads of Connecticut was very interesting – and a great way to put running into perspective. The fact that the training was all done by myself, with no one asking if I would be there, or if I could go faster or slower,  or if I minded if they walked some. Those decisions were all mine. I was proud of the effort I put forth this year, and surprised myself at how many times I got up early and headed out for what I knew was going to be a very difficult effort. All in all, I enjoyed the overall experience, but am not sure I am ready to do that all over again anytime soon.

The last race was done with the entire family – a great way to start the day on Thanksgiving. Kaite started running with me, and stuck with me for over a mile. She put forth a great amount of effort – and knew when to pull up and wait for her mom and brother. At that point, I was able to put my head down and power through the rest of the first hill. After that hill, there was a very long downhill run – and I so enjoyed that! I just let my body flow down the hill, and ended the race with a 10:15 pace which is the best I’ve done on any run that long. Next year, I am shooting for a 9:30 pace for the race, but the crowd and my prep will be the things to determine if that is realistic. I loved the fact that the entire family participated – and that was the very best part about the race when all is said and done!