|There is the Elf Cow K was determined to beat!|
|K before the Running of the Cows|
|Running with the Cows|
|Heading to the start|
We ran through the start and about ¼ of a mile into the race, I looked at J’s hands. No gloves. “Um, J, where are your gloves?” His response, “Mom, when you took my coat off, they fell off too.” Oh, boy. Did I mention it was cold? My hands were numb with gloves on. “J, you need gloves.” So, I took mine off and put them on him. I called my hubby in hopes that he would get the message and be able to find us somewhere on the course to bring J’s gloves so we could both have gloves again before I got frostbite. Ok, I am exaggerating, a bit.
The first mile and a half of the race was through the parking area of Busch Gardens. We looped around the parking area to make our way into a side entrance of the park. The course was thick with runners. J was running really well and was around an 11 min mile for most of the first mile. I had to slow him down a few times because I did not want him to go too fast and to burn out before we got to the finish line. During that first mile, he got MANY comments too. People all around us, would look at him and say things like, “Wow, look at that little boy run.” Or “He is going faster than me!” One woman passed us and she slowed down, looked at J and said, “You are doing such a great job. That is wonderful that you wanted to do this. You are running strong!”
Once we passed mile marker 1, we took a 1 min walk break. I had planned on doing this every mile. It gave J a chance to catch his breath and it ensured he would not run too fast, because we were running faster that he had during his practice runs. I think the excitement of the race, naturally made him go faster. Plus, anytime someone would say something to him or cheer him on, he would naturally start going faster too.
Once we were at about 1.5 miles, we headed into the park. I had never been to Busch Gardens before, so I did not know what to expect. Right now, they have a Christmas Town going on. The whole place was decorated for Christmas. It was beautiful. We ran on “cobble stone streets”, wooden bridges over a stream. We ran past a castle, an Irish town, a German town, and Pompeii. We saw giant Christmas trees and a giant snow man. Christmas music was playing throughout the whole park. It was so much fun to run through. The miles in the park went by quickly. There was so much to look at and so much to see, that it did not even feel like we were putting forth any effort at all. Also, in the park, the Navy and Marines were there to cheer us on. One of the Marines in dress uniform gave Joshua a high five. And, while we were crossing a bridge, a Marine looked at J and said to him, “Now that is motivation. You go little man.” Of, course J picked up the pace, and a tiny smile lit up his face.
|Looking good at 4 miles!|
Our pace slowed a bit out of the park. The parking lot was boring compared to where we had just run, and I could tell J was starting to get tired. At about 4.3 miles, we were running up a hill and at the top of the hill, my hubby, K and A were waiting for us. They were cheering and yelling. A ran out on the course to come see me and I picked him up and gave him a big hug. We ran past, said “See you at the finish line” and took off again. We had just a little bit more to go and we would be done. We had to run around a turn and then headed down a slight hill to the finish line. As we ran up to the finish line, people started to cheer. Our names were printed on our race bibs, so people were cheering J by name. They were clapping and saying “Go, J!!” Well, he took off! He sprinted through the finish line! A woman placed the finisher’s medal around his neck and he had a huge smile on his face.