With today being Father’s Day what better way to celebrate the weekend than to run the Atlanta Track Club Father’s Day 4-Miler with my kids – all three of them! The race was run Saturday morning at 7:30 starting just outside Turner Field in downtown Atlanta, and finishing between first base and the Atlanta Braves Home Plate along the dirt track.
Last year my daughter’s Ashlee and Payton ran it with me, but this year took it to the next step when my 9 year old son Brady joined us as well. This was the first time Brady had run 4 miles so I anticipated there would be a few walk breaks to get the distance, especially considering the hills in the course.
Nobody was happy with the 5:45 wake up call, but two of the three were up and ready to go without too much difficulty. I will leave it a mystery as to which one did the most complaining and almost missed the departure time of 6:15.
We showed up a bit later than I wanted to and had a few issues with traffic getting into the parking lot, but it turned out we had plenty of time to get our numbers, hit the port-o-johns, and find some friends from the Tuesday Night Running Group before the race started at 7:30. What race post would be complete without pictures of the numbers? You can click on my number to the right and then step through all four of our numbers.
We really hadn’t talked about the plan before the race other than it was a given that Payton was going to run her own race. Ashlee was a bit undecided what she was going to do, while Brady and I were just there to have fun and see how much of it we could run. The kids and I dropped back from the front because I didn’t want to get in the way of any serious runners and slow them down. We still planned on running so we didn’t get back too far. We should have had nothing but serious runners in front of us given where we were lined up, so imagine our surprise when we had a 3 wide walking group in front of use as we all took off. They knew they were going to be walking and they were even laughing how they felt like they were getting run over as everyone was trying to get past them as the race started – you think?
Payton took off and left us right away as expected. Ashlee stuck with Brady and I for a while and then left us somewhere in the first mile. I noticed we were running the first mile a bit fast for where we should have been with Brady and tried to slow him down but it wasn’t working. As we neared the end of the first mile and started to hit the hills he started to fade quite a bit. We had run the first mile in 9 minutes and were going to pay for that the rest of the race.
Brady was feeling quite spent already and so we decided to walk the next couple hills. While that helped, it turned out he really wasn’t ready for this many hills at this distance so we walked all of the hills for the rest of the race. This put our second and third miles just below an 11:50 pace and then the final mile just below a 10:40. As we neared Turner Field his fatigue was forgotten and the excitement of finishing in the stadium took over. He kicked it in as we ran along the street beside the stadium and turned it up another notch as we headed into the service entrance and down the first base line. He even took me by surprise when he had that final burst and pulled away from me at the finish line.
We made our way past Home Plate and then finally up into the stands and out into one of the concourses to get our food before heading home. Payton ended up finishing with a time of 29:58, while Ashlee finished in 36:08, and Brady and I had a time of 43:45. Brady was the fourth 9 year old to finish and 24th in his age group which goes as high as 14 years old.
We didn’t realize till later in the afternoon when our neighbors brought over her award, but Payton finished third in her age group. We didn’t even think about that being a possibility since she was running it easy and more as a training run than anything else.
What a great way to spend the Father’s Day weekend. And now as Father’s Day is coming to a close the four of us will once again being heading out for a run – enough to make my Father’s Day! :)
Do you run with your kids? How about any of your family members? Now tell the truth – who is faster?