Today was the 3rd Annual Manzano Mile, a local track meet headlined by 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Leo Manzano. He is an Austinite who, in addition to being a world-class runner, is a heck of a nice guy.
My boys have run in the “Future Milers of America” 400 meter race every year. (Go back to look at this post and see how much they’ve grown in two years!) The event is so well-organized and so much fun that it’s an absolute must-do for our family. Throw in the fact that it’s free– yes, FREE thanks to 1379 Family Sports Shop— and there’s no way we’re going to miss it.
This year The Monkey ran in the first heat, with 5 and 6 year olds. I had told him pre-race not to worry about what anyone else was doing, just to focus on the person in front of him and keep on running. With childlike innocence and confidence he asked, “What happens if I’m winning?” I told him just keep running as fast as you can!
I was at the start/finish line so couldn’t see much of the race, but I could hear the announcer talking about the girl who was in the lead. According to The Monkey, in the middle of the back curve she started to slow down– “I don’t know why she slowed down, Mama. The race wasn’t finished yet. So I just kept running!”
I was chatting with a friend, so imagine my surprise when I looked down the straightaway, and The Monkey was running at cheetah speed way out in front. That’s right, folks:
What a memory for both of us– I keep seeing his arms pumping and feet moving so fast, his mouth wide open with his near-toothless six-year-old grin. He got a high five from Leo Manzano at the finish line. It’s not every day you win a race and get congratulated by an Olympian!
And for The Bear, age 9.5…..we experienced The Agony of Defeat.
It started off all fine and well. The Bear situated himself at the starting line near the inside lane. I saw him jostle for position in the first ten steps or so of the race, and I watched him round the first curve. Then he was hard to follow in the mass of people.
As the winners from his heat crossed the line…..and then more kids kept coming….I was feeling surprised he hadn’t finished yet. But when I saw him post-race, I found out why.
Just as he turned for the back straightaway, he got tangled up with two other kids. All three of them hit the track. Bruised and bloodied, he was now running from the back of the pack.
I was really proud of how well The Bear handled this disappointment. He has a tendency to get angry and be very hard on himself when he feels the universe has wronged him or he hasn’t been The Very Best. Today he just shrugged it off and even went so far as to say he still had fun.
We all learned a good lesson in how important it is to get up and keep on going, even when you know it means turning in a lesser result than you were hoping for. There is a lot of honor in just finishing the race.
Good health and great happiness to you!