Archive for February 22, 2012

On Saturday morning, one day before the 2012 Austin Marathon & Half Marathon I woke up early and went for my standard 2-mile shakeout run.  A workout that I do before every “major” race to remind the legs after a couple of rest days what they will be doing in about 24 hours.

This helps get a little bit of blood flowing into the legs, wake them up from a 48-hour slumber of no activity and burn off a little nervous energy.

Pretty standard routine for a runner.

But as I dodged rain-drops on Saturday, catching a small break between the enormous thunderstorms we had blowing through Austin I found myself thinking more about what Saturday had in store for us than our race the following day.

Saturday was a big day for our daughter Landry.  She was going to be heading down to the Erwin Center at the University of Texas and meet the gang from Sesame Street.

Elmo, Rosita, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Big Bird, Count Von Count, Cookie Monster, Ernie, Oscar the Grouch, Telly Monster, Zoe and her Daddy’s favorite character Grover.

After our run-in with Santa Claus this year Dawn and I were a little bit curious to see what Landry’s reaction would be to seeing a larger than life-sized, walking, talking, singing and dancing version of her favorite Sesame Street characters up close and personal.

Santa didn’t go so well.

But as we drove down to the show I had a feeling things were going to go much better.  We were fortunate enough to be able to get tickets to a “meet and greet” photo session with a couple of the Monsters before the actual show.

I was hoping that Landry would enjoy meeting the Sesame Street gang pre-show in a smaller format would get her excited for the rest of the morning.

As we gathered in the room with a few other families and their children Landry was very outgoing.  Walking around, checking things out and having a good time.  Completely unaware what was about to happen.

Landry was in Dawn’s arms when the rear door opened and Elmo and Rosita came into the room.

She immediately started squirming, kicking her legs and wanted to rush up to see the Monsters.

Put me down Mom! Put me down!

After a few kids had their picture taken with Elmo and Rosita it was Landry’s turn and like the big-girl she is rapidly becoming – she walked up to Elmo all on her own.

Landry walking up to Elmo & Rosita

Slowly at first, then Elmo reached down, picked up Landry and placed her on his lap to many “Awwws” from the crowd.

A few photos were taken and it was time to hop down and get ready for the show.

Landry, Elmo and Rosita

Landry sat in the front row and could hardly take her eyes off of her Sesame Street friends.  She would briefly give a short cry when they would scurry off the stage at the end of a scene, before they would return and she would be riveted once again.

She made it through the both acts and the intermission – having the time of her life.  She even scored a new Big Bird stuffed animal and a soft-pretzel for her troubles.

Throughout the morning I would steal glances at Landry and could not help thinking that I needed to be paying close attention to my daughter.  She, like most young people, has a lot of lessons to teach us if we take the time to watch them carefully enough.

Instead of being frightened or unsure of what was about to happen, she just relaxed and enjoyed herself.  Stayed in the moment and let the day come to her.  Took in the good parts, the exciting times and “went with it”.

Something all of us should remember to do – especially when we are faced with a new challenge.

I tried to take that attitude with me to the race course on Sunday.

Before the race I talked with other runners, stayed relaxed, did not stress about the monster hills we would be facing – or how hard the race was going to get over the last 3 or 4 miles.

Instead, I celebrated the day.  Tried to enjoy being out there doing something that I love to do.  No pressure, no “what if I don’t/can’t break 1:25:30” or “what will that mean at Boston” entered into my mind.

I ran the course, tried my hardest, ran fearlessly and in the end laid down something pretty special.

I have filed this weekend away to draw on in 25 days when we race again at the Shamrock Half out in Virginia Beach as our final tune-up before Boston.

I will be in a city I have never visited before, running a race course I have never seen.  I won’t have my family with me; it is essentially a business trip.  To finish off this training cycle with one final tough push before wrapping things up and getting ready to run the race of our life in Boston.

Instead of thinking about all of the things that can go wrong or if the weather is bad, the course is hard or whether or not I am able to run a smart, tactical race – I am going to think about Landry.

Keep it simple.  Go out and have fun.  Do your best.  Try your hardest.  Celebrate the day.

I have a feeling we’re going to be pretty happy with what the clock has to say at the end.

Thanks Landry.  Daddy loves you.