Today was the Johnny Kelley Memorial Race in Hyannis. I ran the 5k with Mr. Pi while Gazelle Boy ran the 10k (where he won his age bracket... again).
I was worried about doing this with Pi, he hadn't really trained and the last time I did a race with him was exactly one year ago where he spent the whole 2 miles whining. So needless to say, I was a little hesitant entering this one with him, but I really wanted to encourage him as well. We had agreed to walk at my pace for 5 minutes and run at his for 3 - so I wore my watch with the interval timer and the goal was a 15 minute mile.
We lined up toward the back and took off - him listening to Green Day on his iPod and me listening to Stevie Wonder on mine. At first he was disappointed we were so far back when I told him, "We'll pass most of these people as we start running."
I don't think he believed me at first - but he did keep pace and there was no whining this time. As we were coming up on the 5 minute mark to our first run, he said, "Count it down like Nina and then say, 'Kep, kep, jikwan.'" (Which is Klingon for "run, run, fat man.") So I said OK and counted "Three, two, one - kep, kep, jikwan."
Sure enough we passed the first group of folks and he held up well for the 3 minutes (which were more at my pace than his). As we started the next walk break, I pointed out that we had past the half mile point... much to his surprise.
He was excited to see the 1 mile mark a little while later and I pointed out to him that we were actually at a 13:45 pace - over a minute faster that our goal. As we turned the corner and had an open view of the ocean, he said, "This is beautiful, I wish I had brought my camera with me." Each time he'd start to fall a little behind, I'd encourage him to keep up. When we passed the 2nd mile marker, I thought he was going to leap with joy.
"I feel so good - I really do," he said as we passed it. As we passed the water stop where the half marathoners turn off the course, we walked through and I told him we were still on a 13:45 pace. The only thing that slowed him down was just after my Nike+ announced there were 400 meters left and his shoe untied. We approached the finish line and he grabbed my hand so we could cross together doing "the Johnny Kelley" - our joined hands upraised as we finished.
Unofficially, we ran it in about 43 minutes and I think he's now hooked. Even though I didn't really push myself, it was a good feeling coaching him through the race. Ironically, if he does use this to amp himself up to run, he'll be smoking me in no time - a day I look forward to with happiness.