Here's how it all began...My son Hawk and I have a nice father/son rivalry going around which one of us can clock the fastest mile. Our plan was to have the big showdown during one of his track meets this spring so, starting in December of last year, we agreed to train together under a pretty strict program.
We were adjusting to the routine, and everything was looking good, but then, just before Christmas, we got hit with a solid one-two combo. Our treadmill broke down (yes, we live in snowy Utah and need it) AND Hawk experienced his first relationship heartbreak. Even if you've never had a treadmill break, you might at least know the power of a heartbreak. Despite these setbacks, we continued to try and make it work for another month, but the training was too structured and demanding for a broken heart, so we decided that it would be best for Hawk to return to training with his team and I gave-up pursuit of my fastest mile and decided to return, fully committed, to one final year of obstacle racing.
Fast forward to yesterday. My OCR training is in full swing, and Hawk is starting to get his rhythm back as well. My wife tells me that they are going to have an open heat mile (1600 meters) during our high schools regional track meet and that I had been challenged by some of the boys to try and break their best times for the year. Hawks time was 4:32, and his best friend was 4:33. At first I was like "no thanks", but then she mentioned that two on my sons and daughter would be racing also, and were hoping to break 6 minutes. I got to thinking, "shoot, if I run 4:30, and they run 6 min, then I might just be able to lap them". For some odd reason this goal motivated me and I said "let's do this party!".
So today, after work, I headed straight to Park City (7,000 feet elevation). I'm pretty sure there was a conspiracy behind challenging me at such a high altitude race. I borrowed Hawks racing spikes, as I don't own any, and made my way to the starting line.
Next thing I know, the gun goes off and almost immediately I'm thinking, "crap, I have no idea how fast I'm running". It's been exactly 20 years since the last time I raced on a track, and had only done 2 track workouts in the last 7 years. I actually felt fairly confident with the intensity, but wasn't sure if it would equate to a 62 or 70 second first lap. As I reach the end of the lap I hear the counter; 63, 64, 65!...oh boy, this race is going to be painful. I haven't ran that kind of pace in my training for the last couple of months. And even then it was in shorter intervals. But with only 3 laps left to go, it was too late to back down now. With about 350 meters left in the race, I finally spot my first victim, my daughter Brooke. I yell ahead, and she starts screaming that I had better not touch her when I pass. Of course I ignore her and smack her upside the head as I run by. She repeatedly yells that she hates me as I run off in the distance. It's all playful banter of course. That is what I call good parenting. :)
Hawk and his best friend are now running on the infield yelling that I need to start sprinting if I'm going to beat their times. I'm thinking to myself that I have practically been sprinting the whole race, what more do you want from me? But then I hit the 200 meter mark where I had previously committed to starting my final sprint, and as everyone knows, once you've committed to a sprint spot, you can't back out. So, I dig deep and give it my all. My fast twitch muscles did their best, bless their heart, but OCR training just didn't make these types of demands on them, so they were woefully unprepared. Coming around the final bend, I can see Hunter and Forest up ahead, just out of reach, but at this point I'm more concerned with just making sure my legs keep moving.
As I near the finish line, I hear 4:32, 4:33, 4:34!! Are you freaking kidding me!?! One second!?! One stupid second!?! My son and his friend come running over. They are quick to congratulate my effort and shower me with praise. "You did great!!...That was awesome!!...BUT NOT AS AWESOME AS US!!! WOOHOO! WOHOO!.....
Bunch of jerks.
Anyway, while they were celebrating my sweet defeat, I was just trying to stay alive. My lungs were on fire. I could hardly breathe without coughing, and when I coughed my stomach would spasm. It's a good thing my stomach was empty.. I hadn't been in this kind of pain since running the 800 meter race in high school. It took a solid 15 minutes to get it under control, and by the time I made it back to the land of the living, the meet was over and everyone was leaving. I felt bad for not getting to thank everyone who made this pain fest possible. Sometimes I wonder why I'm grateful for such a thing, but I am. Must be the opportunity to spend quality time with the family and get out of your comfort zone at the same time.