Saturday, November 11, 2006

Running with Dad: Reidsville Turkey Trot Race Report

Of all the races I've participated in and no matter how many or which ones I do in the future, I can't imagine any run being more meaningful than the Turkey Trot that I did this morning in my hometown of Reidsville, N.C. That's because I ran it with my dad.

The Turkey Trot was dad's first road race, and I'm so proud of him for finishing the 5K. He had dedicated himself over the past several weeks to train, and all of his hard work paid off. I ran alongside him for the entire course in downtown Reidsville, and gave him a big hug after we crossed the finish line.

We had utilized run/walk itervals during the race, so I didn't expect him to shift into high gear as we approached the finish line. With the finish line in sight, he left me in his tracks. Even though we finished at the very end of the field (I finished dead last), dad and I both placed received trophies for placing in our respective age groups. He finished second (out of two) in the 65-69 year old division with a time of 40 minutes, 23 seconds, and I finished third (out of three) in the 30-34 year-old divisin in 40:26. Dad's time was nearly five minutes faster than any of his 3-mile training sessions.

But today wasn't about about a finishing time, a trophy or anything else. It was about enjoying good fellowship with dad and sharing in an achievement of a goal with him. He had told me several times leading up to the race that he hoped he didn't embarrass me. He told me repeatedly that I could run ahead at my pace and just meet him at the finish. But when he committed to do the race I told him I'd run alongside him each step of the way. It was the least I could do. He's been running alongside me and encouraging me all my life. And along the way I think he realized that where you finish doesn't really matter, just as long as you finish.