H’s first race: The Saratoga Springs Palio 5K

H didn’t immediately love the running stroller.

When we received it as a Christmas gift, we immediately headed out for a family run, only to turn around a few minutes into it with a very unhappy baby and disappointed parents.

A little time (and the purchase of a snack tray for the stroller) has worked wonders, and H now happily tags along for short runs. I figured it was time to try a 5K. Not for time, because I am less of a serious runner these days and more of a snack administrator and toddler soother. Just for fun. I was curious to see if H would enjoy the crowds and spectators and atmosphere and post-race snacks as much as I did.

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Me and H running the Palio 5K in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Sept. 17. Too bad we didn’t have any fun.

And did he ever! H spent the Palio 5K in Saratoga Springs on Sept. 17 kicking his legs, smiling, and waving to our fellow runners on the streets of this lovely course through Saratoga Springs. It was also the most fun I’ve ever had running, hands down. What a relief to be freed of the burden of obsessing over your pace! What a joy to focus on the experience rather than the clock!

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it wasn’t my worst-ever time, either, albeit not a PR. Something magical happens when we prepare for a race, then detach from our need to achieve a certain result.

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Post-race, eating alll the finish-line snacks. 

The best part was seeing H proudly clasp the race medal and nosh on post-race snacks once we crossed the finish line. We stayed to cheer on a friend running the half-marathon with her son, who is a senior in high school. As I watched H clap along with the other cheering spectators, and point to runners rounding the corner to Congress Park, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d started a little family tradition.

How did you introduce your kids to running? Did the habit stick?

 

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