Tuesday, May 29, 2012

EAB Fun Run

He had been on the sidelines since he was a few months old. Now it was Sam’s turn. He was more than ready, mentally preparing for all of one week.  As we were walking out the door Saturday morning to drive over the American School where the race was being held, he made sure to remember his water bottle (sippy cup). He paused at the door and asked Elise and I, “Where are you guys going to be standing?” He wanted to leave his water with us, but wanted to make sure he would be able to find us along the course. It had never occurred to me that he didn’t know he was going to run one lap around a 200 meter circle spraypainted into the grass on the school’s field. In Sam’s mind, he was going to wedge himself into a starting shoot with 5,000 other Brazilian kids, wait for the starting gun, then go sprinting off into the distance, around a corner and disappear, only to meet up with us a few miles or kilometers later, just like mom and dad do when they do their races. This would explain a lot of the pre-race jitters that were still to come.

 When we arrived at the school, we paid our entry fee. Sam received his race t-shirt, his first. But refused to put it on. But all the other kids were wearing it, we explained. You have to wear it to run, we reminded.  Finally, we forced the shirt over his head. Sam started to cry. He begged and whined to take the shirt off for the next thirty minutes, even as we scouted the course and scoped out the competition. He didn’t stop crying until all the four and five year-olds in Race 1 began to line up.

Per Brazilian tradition, they were lead in alongamento (stretching) by one of the teachers. It was pretty amusing to watch several hundred tiny limbs flailing through the air. In all honesty, it is even more amusing to watch grown adults go through the same ritual. It painfully reminds me of junior high gym class. Hence, neither Elise or I usually participate. After the alongamento, it was race time.  

They ran in two heats. Girls first, then boys. As the girls took off, Sam clapped from the infield. His jitters gone, we hoped, it seemed as though he was finally getting into the sport. Good thing, too, because he only had a few minutes until his race.

The boys lined up next, in two lines. Sam was in pole position, he had perfectly placed himself in the middle of the pack. Soon, they were off. He went sprinting by us in his black Adidas, poofy hair bouncing by, arms pumping. He held strong at fifth. I missed some of the back stretch as I tried to take a movie on Elise’s iPhone and hold Clementine.

200 meters later, he was beat. His tiny legs had spun themselves out. High fives all around. Even from Petey. He knew the drill. Water, then straight for the post-race fruit buffet. He high-tailed it on to the rest of our day, before the big kids 3k held our car captive in the parking lot.


Anonymous said...

Would so love to have seen this! Maybe next time!

Aunt J-Wyce said...

Like father like son. Like mother like son and one day daughter. How cool that is. Good work SAM!!

eliseandpaul said...

Now that I see the pic....that kid totally false-started!