Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Run With Nat

Ever run with a 13 year old boy? I have and live to tell the tale!

It started with Nathaniel's desire to accompany his dad, aunt and uncle in the Bataan Memorial Death March for 26.2 miles in the desert of New Mexico. The tale ends and begins with Dad taking his son's welfare into account. He's a good dad. 

Nat -as he'll be called for this adventure- wanted to do something. This is where I enter the story. "What do you think about doing a --" before I could get the word out of my mouth, Nat blurts, "a HALF!"

"You know that's 13.1 miles, right?"
"Yes! Half of a full."
"Ok. It's gonna take training."
"I'll do it! I want to do this!"

With a small window for training before he and his family leave the country for a couple of years, we worked on a training calendar to strengthen core, arms, legs and get miles under our proverbial belt. He was a bright and willing student ready to attempt whatever the schedule listed. Our runs were a constant conversation of goals, health, nutrition and a battle of the wills. I won those!

During the last long run before tapering to save our legs for the #RunWithNat Virtual Bataan Half Marathon, our convo turned to motivation. 

"Nathaniel, I haven't even asked WHY you're wanting to do this run. What is your motivation?"
Ready for a description of how and when and why, I let it settle. He was quiet. Then, "My dad."

I waited thinking he would add more (because this boy likes to talk). He didn't. So, we let it land right there. My dad.

Saturday morning white with frost, a beautiful Tennessee sunrise and turkeys stretch themselves as members from our local running club, Mt Juliet Flyers, sign in to run with the 13 year old. Dad, Mom and sisters organize the hydration station and motivational signs. The national anthem rings out over the park, hands over hearts and eyes on an American flag at half mast. It's time.

Ready. Set. Go! Nat sets the pace. We are doing 2:1 intervals. Two minute easy pace with a one minute walking rest interval. The beeper sounds and we are back at running. Following the white line, we round the track to the "Horn of Africa," a nubby little turning point back to the original track. Round and round to easy introductions and conversations of the Batman vs Superman movie and upcoming races. Before Nat realizes, we are at 7 miles!

The temp is higher. The sunshine and effort have warmed us. Other runners and walkers and supporters arrive to cheer Nat to victory. Finally, it's the last mile. 

"Here we go! This is it!"
"Not many your age have ever done 13.1 miles!"
"Way to go!"
"You've got this!"
"Keep running!"
"Donuts are coming!"
"Hello, Stubborn."
"Run through the pain!"
"Are you ready to sprint to the finish like you said?"

And, he did to Dad and a big fat finisher's medal from Full Medal Runs supporting Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund helping military personnel suffering the effects of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and psychological health (PH) issues.

Nat says he will miss running with me. He made me a running coach, if only for this one time. I will miss our runs and talks and battle of the wills and thoughts of donuts!

My new Emerald City Lotta Breeze Capris Skirt 
and Kelly D from Skirt Sports arrived in time 
for #RunWithNat!

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