We grabbed our stuff and laced up our sneakers. I loaded the backpack with emergency kid supplies: water, oranges, string cheese, twizzlers… we registered and got our bibs.
They tried to register the kids for the kids race and the kids said nope… they were going for the whole thing- the adult four mile hill run/walk. The guy looked surprised. I looked scared. They actually blessed the race course (we needed all the blessings we could get) and the air horn blasted…
It was four miles ahead of us, much of it uphill, through a park in LA. There we were… off like gangbusters… vroom vroom vroom. And then about 200 yards in.. This shit got real. What did I sign up for.
The 6 year old wanted to know if we were there yet by the first big uphill. We weren’t. People passed us but we kept cranking. We stopped for water ten times and when water wasn’t enough to entice them we started with string cheese and when string cheese wasn’t enough to entice them I pulled out the Twizzlers.
Mile 2: The two mile mark doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s the highest and steepest part of the course. At this point, I’m questioning what the hell I was ever thinking. The 6 year old wants to be carried down the mountain. The 9 year old wants to plod on. We stopped to enjoy the view. It was pretty awesome.
Mile 3: The third mile is slow and meandering on tiny trails, which is fine because either some people quit, or we were the last ones left… whatever… didn’t make a difference. We had an unscheduled pee pee break, more water breaks, and we were walking slowly.. ever so slowly… ever. so. slowly. screech. stop. We stopped. We needed inspiration. We were in the middle of nowhere with nothing left to do but find a way to finish. My 6 year old didn’t want to move. She was frozen. Frozen.
Mile 4. The fourth mile. We can do it. We played “Let it Go” again. And again. This was their Rocky “Eye Of The Tiger”. They picked up the pace. They got a spring in their step. We spotted the finish line in the distance. We could see it. There it is! And we crossed that finish line with “Let it Go” blasting again. They were already wrapping up the race but gave us each a medal and even clapped for us. We made it right under the 2 hour wire.
It wasn’t a record breaking pace. Well not officially. But we broke a bunch of records really. I didn’t see any other parent on the course lugging a 20 pound backpack and cheering on his kids. I didn’t see any other brave kids tackling the course and cheering on their dad. On one Saturday in Los Angeles one dad experienced the ups and downs of fatherhood… it was pretty awesome.