Where Leaders Come to Think

Beer & Bagels


It was a cool – I mean cold November morning. My son and I woke up early and by 8 A.M. we were happily standing outside among the other eager runners. You could tell the runners who do this thing all the time. They came well prepared. It was our first off-trail run.

It was a time I will never forget.

Briley in his shorts had to be freezing. I was cold even though I was sporting the latest running technology. (Age has its privileges.) Despite how good we looked each of us started this run off with a grumble. The breeze that hissed past our faces left a wake of red noses and rose-colored cheeks. Simply standing at the starting line being cold was killing my desire.

Bang! The gun sounded and the 2012 Beer and Bagel Run began. This 4.5 mile run was said to be fun. It was fun…but also hard. The rolling Nebraska landscape was almost more than I could handle. Up and down and up again – the hills seemed like mountains. We ran the first mile faster than normal. (A record-breaking split.) When you are fourteen that’s not a big deal. When you are old it is. I could feel the effects on my body as my heart thumped hard. The cold nip of the Nebraska countryside soon gave way to sweat and fatigue. After the first mile, I was steaming and felt over dressed.

It figures.

Briley was enjoying a great time running. This young man doesn’t seem to get tired. Yet, I was. The second mile was smooth a good split for us. I had visions of finishing in the top of my bracket. However, any hope of that quickly faded in mile three. Clawing my way up the hills, I noticed that Briley was bounding around like a jack rabbit. My encouragement to him was run his race – not mine. Go for it! However, time and time again he hit the brakes to maintain my pace.

When tired this type of devotion feels like mocking.

I quickly dismissed all his efforts and sent my son running off on his own. By the middle of mile three, he was out of sight, and I was struggling. My pace slowed to an old man’s crawl. Not even my music was inspiring me. No one told me about the rolling country side that seemed to roll on for the entire run.

Mile four I was picking up steam again.

My heart steady – my gaze was now on a strong finish. Just then there was my son. Jogging in place, again, he was waiting for me. Grinning ear to ear – he looked proud to see me. “Way to go Dad! we are just about finished.” I had mixed emotions about my son waiting on me. “Dad, we start together and finish together.” I so wanted him to run his own race – he’s a good runner. Yet I realized something in the moment more important than sport.

My son doesn’t love running. He loves me. I am blessed.

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  1. Heather Thomas
    Heather Thomas11-14-2012

    It’s amazing that we push our kids to do their best but sometimes their best is something completely different then how they finish. I loved this story. Your son is one smart cookie…he wore shorts.

  2. pjreviewofbooks

    What a great post! While I have not run in a while my daughter used to run 5K’s together and, as the saying goes, “I feel your pain.” 🙂 What a compelling picture of your son waiting for you. That line “we start together and we finish together” is one that will “preach.”

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