Complicating matters was the usual logistics for the hughes family kids. Logan had 11:15 soccer game and Reagan had Gymnastics practice from 8 until noon. Fran had Logan covered, but I would have to be at Reagan's gym at noon. The Allen race suited that plan. With the Arlington race the probability was lower. But as it turned out, this dilemma was solved in an unusual way.
Apparently sometime on Friday Reagan decided that she was going to win herself a penguin. And she announced this to her gymnastics coach at friday's practice: "I am going to miss practice tomorrow because I am running with my dad." When I got home on Friday night she told me the same thing. Then she made me pull down all the penguins from their home in my office. She examined them carefully. Then she made me pull up all of the race results for the last three years. It was clear that to win a penguin (place in the top three in her age group) that she would need to run sub 20 minutes. She should have no problem doing that. But she had never, ever run two miles before. Ever.
We got up at ODarkThirty on Saturday and drove across town to the race. We got registered. Put on our chips. And we went to look at the Penguins. This year they were not ceramic - they all had FUR!! Not quite as cool as the ceramic ones, but still pretty unique awards.
Finally we got ready to race. It was pretty cold, and Reagan was layered up. I told her if she got hot to wrap her jacket around her waist. She wanted to start the race in the middle of the pack so I walked her to that point and left her to run her race. I went to the front of the pack to start.
Like last week, this race has tons of kids from the local schools, and they all go our hard from the start and fade after the first quarter mile. This race has a tight start and so it was harder moving through them at the start. After 3/4 of a mile I was pretty much clear of the kids. There were two were right on my tail however. I came through the mile in 5:38. The kids tested me twice at about 2200 meters or so. I recovered both times. For the last 800 meters I was able to keep in front of them.
The race finishes with a right hand turn about 80 meters from the line. As we approached the turn I heard the first kid, Ethan, yelling at his Buddy Logan to get it in gear. I surmised that we had broken Logan. Ethan on the other hand came by me at the turn and taunted me by saying, "you are not going to let me beat you are you?" The first thought that popped into my head was "dude, you are less than half my age." But then I thought, ya know good point. I dug down and found another gear. Ethan responded. I dug deeper. At this point we were both kicking like crazy and I felt like I got him at the line but I was not entirely sure.
They pulled my chip and then I jogged back along the course. I was really surprised when I found Reagan about a half mile from the finish. She had her jacket wrapped around her waist and she was running with really beautiful long strides and a fast turnover. I yelled, "Go Reagan Kelley, you are moving girl!" A women running next to her told me, "she is doing really well." Which of course I could see. She immediately ripped off the jacket and handed it to me. I had to pick up my pace to run with her into the finish.
She picked off a bunch of little girls and boys in the last mile and right at the finish she was challenged by a girl that she passed and she had to kick it in too!
In all of the excitement I did not see the time on the finish clock. But I was confident that she ran well enough to get a penguin. And sure enough, she won her age group in 17:59 and that was also better than all of the boys her age!
I won first masters in 11:16, which got me a large penguin and I was fifth overall and I finished 7/10 of a second ahead of Ethan in the mad kick fest.
Penguins! From the Left: Bob Smeby, Reagan, Chris, a friend of Ed and Bob, Ed Park.
Next up: The Dallas White Rock Marathon Relay.
All views expressed in this post and on this blog are my own. None of my comments should be construed to represent the views of others including and not limited to: BMC Software Inc., Corel Corporation, Dun and Bradstreet and AC Nielsen. Copyright Chris Hughes 2004-2012