Obviously I cannot be trusted. I said I wouldn’t, but here I am registered once again for this year’s Bolder Boulder 10K. It happened a few weeks ago when my kids were asking if we could partake in our annual tradition of munching on doughnuts while watching the televised version of the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day. My husband is usually the one they ask, knowing full well he is hardwired to wholeheartedly embrace the rally cry for doughnuts on this occasion. This year, however, Daddy will be conducting research and sipping hot cocoa in northern Alaska (probably with a doughnut, if he can find one), far, far away from the race day festivities. So, the kids were forced to present their case to Mom. Faced with their best wide-eyed, sugar deprived and truly starving melodramatic pleas, I dug in my heels and announced that this year will be different. This year, doughnuts must be earned! I bargained a trip to VooDoo Doughnuts in Denver in exchange for their successful completion of the Memorial day race.
Nathan was easily persuaded to claim his spot in the famous 10K. He has been running intermittently with both me and Dave, and he could probably run the whole thing without too much effort. Gabby was a slightly harder sell. She has a 5K behind her belt, but routinely feigns exhaustion during the 2 mile loop around our neighborhood. She initially abandoned the quest for doughnuts altogether, but eventually conceded and agreed to the race after a bit of tantalizing doughnut imagery by her very hungry big brother.
With both kids committed to the race, I secured our registrations in the walking/jogging category. Then we embarked on our (albeit meager) training plan. Obviously, times are irrelevant and we are just in it to finish. Still, I wanted Gabby’s little legs to be used to the distance in the hopes of averting a meltdown at the halfway point. As family-friendly as the Bolder Boulder is with all its hoopla and entertainment along the entire route, I’ve witnessed many a child in full tantrum mode around the 4th mile mark, and I’d prefer to avoid any such public proclamations of child abuse. Two weeks ago, we managed one 4 mile walk without any major incidents. Last weekend’s effort was more noteworthy. We increased our mileage to 5 miles, and Gabby magnificently melted shortly before finishing the first mile. Once she realized my intended route, there were tears, arguments, and a prompt refusal to move. She sat down on the dirt trail, arms folded and pouty lower lip thrust outward at me in resolute defiance. To her brother’s horror she swore off doughnuts altogether, along with the race. Delirium from training in a high alpine environment took hold and she complained of hunger and thirst, oblivious to the pre-walk snack she had consumed not more than 10 minutes prior. Had we been running, I’d have plopped down beside her and echoed her cries for mercy. I offered up a hug and my “welcome to the club” fist-bump of solidarity, knowing she was my child. I prattled on with some helpful advice about our picture worthy surroundings and how at least she didn’t need a bathroom, but I’m fairly certain it was her brother’s empathetic doughnut depiction that finally spurred her onward. It was a grand display and with a resigned and hopeless demeanor she eventually resumed her “quality time with Mom and Nathan” walk.
She remained in this state until 2.5 miles when an adorably small, 2 or 3 month old golden lab puppy came tearing down the trail at breakneck speed. His eyes were huge with excitement and he was undeniably thrilled to have found us, his long-lost best friends who he’s never met. His owner was frantically trailing some distance behind him, shouting futile attempts to retrieve his pooch and apologies for the off leash time. Meanwhile the joyful creature misjudged the time required to stop and crashed head first into Nathan’s legs, dissolving into a wiggly mass of wagging tail and tongue, slathering my son with sloppy wet puppy kisses. The puppy then noticed Gabby and myself and hurriedly wiggled his way over to spread the love, leaving no spot unlicked. While I did not manage to capture a photo or a video of the incident, I did film a slow-mo of Gabby’s reenactment.
Gabby found this haphazard encounter both hilarious and uplifting, and with her jovial demeanor restored, she proceeded to recount it incessantly throughout the remainder of our hike (Exhibit A. Her prompt restoration to a happy, care-free 7 year old for the remainder of our trek offers irrefutable evidence as to why we should get a puppy).
While we were eventually successful in completing the planned 5 mile distance, the entire excursion lasted over 2 hours. That included pouty meltdown time, puppy petting, and some playground reward time for happy Gabby.
To be fair, there was also a bit of generalized laziness and lack of inertia. If it takes that long for us to finish the 10K, we will not make it into the stadium at the end of the race and we will find ourselves barred from the finish line.
This morning, Nathan decided to exercise his developing skills as a teenager and could not be pried from his bed to accompany Gabby and I on our final training session. I let this slide because, teenagers, and because he’s not the one I’m worried about finishing. I settled on a girls’ only day and set out with Gabby equipped with a small water bottle, tunes, and tissues. Gabby was full of positive energy and started out strong, joking about her guaranteed success today. She enthusiastically made it to the end of the driveway before she had to pause for a drink.
Gabby remained perfectly positive as she slugged back her water like a pro, each time noting how refreshing the water felt. She happily jogged and walked intermittently as we started around our neighborhood lake and entered into our 2nd mile. The wind picked up slightly and she asked me for a tissue. I smiled and reluctantly passed her one of my treasured stash, unable to refuse my adorable mini-me.
I realized quickly I had not planned appropriately in terms of tissue reserve for both of us, and it was likely to get messy in another 3 or 4 miles. Gabby also continued to cheerfully chug her water bottle every few feet making me fret she would be completely out by the time she was starting to feel the heat of the day. I warned her to slow down her water usage and we adopted a policy of extreme tissue preservation and rationing throughout the remainder of our route.
My cautionary tales fell on deaf ears and by mile 4, Gabby’s water supply was spent and suddenly the remaining distance could have just as easily been the Sahara.
Did I mention my daughter is somewhat theatrical? Though she required a little more prompting and encouragement for the last 2 miles, she still managed to spring to life and dash ahead of me on occasion as well as periodically throw in a few cartwheels. Because cartwheels!
All said and done, we finished in well under 2 hours and I no longer fear being unable to finish with my kiddos next weekend. In all likelihood, both kids will be overcome with race day exuberance and I will struggle just to keep up with them throughout the event. In any case, we are as ready as ever and there is nothing to do now but rest up and tackle the distance the best we can next week! See you at the start!