At nearly 70 years of age my father decided he wanted to run his first 5k. He trained through the winter and worked through knee pain. When race day arrived my sister and I were there to run with him for every single step.
I’m not sure where this story starts. Where exactly did the desire my father felt to run a 5k originate from? Was running an interest of his that he imparted on my sister and I accidentally early in our lives? Is it some genetic predisposition that compels us? A desire to work hard? Donna was the first to “become a runner.” Years later, with her encouragement, I fell in love with the sport. Now, many years after that, my father has run his first 5k. He trained through the cold winter strengthening his body until the aches and pains went away.
My sister and I had the privilege to join him for this race. In fact it was quite the Rowe family affair! My Dad and sister signed up for the 5k while Amber and I registered for the Boston medley (a three race series that starts with the 5k). Approaching the corrals Amber moved ahead as she was planning to earn a PR. The rest of us moved to the appropriate location farther back in the starting chutes. I guess I never told my Dad that I’d be running the race nor with him as he was very pleasantly surprised when the three of us were side by side. Always a planner he told us exactly how he wanted to go through the finish line.
Something wasn’t working quite right with the PA system and we were confused as to when the race actually started. We were confused as to why we were being moved out of the starting corrals. It didn’t hamper our experience but it was a confusing start. When we crossed the start he took off! This continued for the majority of the race; he primarily ran with a few walking breaks while Donna and I stayed close. As we neared the finish he was growing tired. Once we turned the corner and could see the finish line the walking was done. The three of us ran by our #1 cheerleader, my Mom, and finished the race hand-in-hand. We hadn’t even cleared the finish chute when he was talking about doing another!
My father is nearly 70. Did he ever think he’d run a 5k? Did he think he’d run through the finish line of the Boston Marathon with two of his children? Did he think he’d do so at 69 years of age? I didn’t think I’d be running a race with him. What things will happen in my life that I never anticipated? Will I have the courage that he has to try new things or will I become a slave to routine and taking the easy route? I hope the former.