This morning Wylie ran 4.5 miles.
That may not sound like a lot to many of you.
But, considering he's never run more than 1 mile, it's pretty impressive.
Wylie began talking about a Thanksgiving Day race two months ago. He conceived of the race as starting at City Hall in Yucaipa and ending "at the outskirts of town" at the Starbucks by the freeway. That way, I could have a cappucino at the end of our race. (His idea).
Now, I'm certain Wylie's vision included throngs of people lining Yucaipa Blvd from start to finish cheering us on, handing us cold water, waving banners of victory and shouting out encouragement. So, when we got out of the car at city hall and the cool air and damp gray clouds hung low in the sky and there was nobody lining the streets except a couple stray dogs and a homeless guy...well....anybody's excitement might have waned.
Thankfully, we had persuaded Papa Gene to run with us. So, the race began a little after 8 am this morning.
We had just made it to McDonald's when I hear Wylie mutter under his breath from behind me "Geez: this is harder than I thought".
We had just passed our turn off at 10 th street when I heard
"Mom! Papa Gene is going too fast!"
By the time we were abeam the highschool, Wylie was imploring us to walk because his legs were hurting.
Just past Sand Canyon, he had to take his hoodie off.
Once we got behind the blvd after it curves slightly south (we took the safer route right along the Crafton Hills), Wylie was hurting.
"Mom, can we please walk!"
I kept encouraging him and telling him he could do it. We were almost there.
Just about that time, my boss, Rick Gunn drove by and honked his horn. This lifted Wylie's spirits. Rick turned around and pulled up alongside us like a pace car. This inspired Wylie for a few more feet.
At the 3.15 mile mark I offered to Wylie:
"Look Wylie. We've ran over 3 miles and I didn't think it was going to be so far a distance, do you want Pastor Rick to drive you the rest of the way to Starbucks?"
and, this is the money-line of my Thanksgiving....
"But, Mom, that would be cheating".
We pressed on.
Up and down two muddy hills. Through the washed out dirt road to Overcrest Drive.
Finally, we're moving downhill the last mile. He can see the freeway traffic and he knows the finish line is near. He picks up steam. My dad keeps him running. I dart out ahead so I can snap a picture of them finishing the race.
We turned the corner onto Hampton Rd and Wylie was just about to stop running when he hears shouts from the Starbucks parking lot....it's Tim, McKenna, Rick and our buddy Nick Crain...
"You can do it, Wylie! Woo Hoo! Keep going buddy!"
And, Wylie gives it all he has to the parking lot.
Man! IT was awesome. I love that kid.
What a fantastic way to begin this day of gratitude and thanksgiving.
After some high-fives, Wylie went immediately to the truck and got in. He was spent.
I bought my dad a coffee.
We drove back up to get the car from the city hall parking lot and returned to where the race had begun.
"Next year, we can add a few more runners".