The Cow Paddy is special. Four years ago it was my first race, and since that first Cow Paddy, I’ve been back every year to run my sentimental favorite — the race that started all this running and racing nonsense.
This year, The Cow Paddy was an all-new kind of special. Colt has started running and we thought the Kids’ Hogeye Marathon might be his first race until we looked at the calendar and realized otherwise. The Cow Paddy! How perfect for it to be Colt’s first race.
Late winter/early spring weather around here is unpredictable at best. As late as four days out, the weather looked amazing for a Friday evening race, but as the week progressed the forecast turned into this:
The 1K gun was scheduled for 5:45. That afternoon, I notified Colt’s cheering section that we were indeed running anyway, but that I would accompany the little racer and let everyone else stay dry. By that point, it had been raining nearly nonstop for 24 hours in Fayetteville, and the race course is on grass at Gulley Park. It was sure to be a muddy, slippery mess.
His spirit was not dampened. We got there with plenty of time to check-in and get his timing chip. As I took it out of the envelope and mumbled, “here, let me show you how this works,” he proudly stuck his foot out, having seen this process dozens of times and knowing exactly “how this works.”
As Hood Family luck would have it, it only started raining harder as we approached the start. He lined up after I showed him which button to press on my Garmin when the gun went off.
If not for the rain, there may have been four times that many kids, but they were a great group. I have very limited race spectator experience — Jeff is the one who takes all the great race photos! — so I didn’t get a good shot of the start, but they were off!
My heart was so happy seeing him punch the Garmin and take off. We’ve been running about a mile each time we go out and this race was only a 1K so I knew he should have plenty of steam — especially when you factor in the energy and adrenaline of race day.
It wasn’t long before I spotted him heading into the finish. Sooner than I thought!
Here’s a crop of that shot — you can really see the rain.
He was finishing so strong! Go go go, Buddy! Run, Colt!
He crossed the finish line, got his cowbell finisher medal — and I could tell he had surprised himself. Little guy was breathing HARD.
The distance should’ve been closer to .6 miles which means we have some work to do on running in a straight line. Ha! It also means he totally killed it running all over the course!
As I looked through photos tonight, I noticed something that made me smile. Apparently, that’s my “pose with Colt after a race” stance.
On the left, I had just run my very first 5K and had no idea what running would become for me. Colt was two years old, and he only knows it from the photos. As far as his memory is concerned, I’ve been running forever. I still don’t know exactly what made me START running four years ago, but I can tell you without hesitation one of the biggest reasons I KEEP running. Introducing him to this sport that has become such a big part of my life has brought tears to my eyes more than once, and so far it’s only been a handful of training miles and a 1K race. Buddy, I plan on being there at every finish line I can — and if I can keep up with you, maybe we’ll cross one together.