Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stop Forrest Stop!


This is a back post from an event that happened a couple of months ago and that Leslie wanted me to capture. It was on a night when she had to teach and that I had both boys to myself. I took them to our favorite park to let them burn some energy before heading home. It was a nice night and there are always lots of people there. On this particular night there was a middle school track team out practicing on the cross county track that loops around the park.

Briggs noticed all of the older kids running and asked if he could go run with them. I said sure without hesitation based on me having never seen him run more than 100 yards non-stop and assuming he would not go "too" far. The kids were lining up on a start line chalked up in the field and as I was playing with Max, I watched Briggs walk up to the older kids and strike up conversation in his nonchalant way that he has. They were smiling and talking and thought it was cute I think. The kids were running in groups of three or four and Briggs was going to go off with the last group.

This park has two parks, volleyball courts, and two ponds, one of pretty good size and the track runs all the way around it, I'm guessing it's a couple of miles at least for one loop. The distance will be a factor in a minute. So anyways, I watch with a little pride and curiosity as Briggs' group starts. You could tell immediately that this was a distance run because as Briggs burst out at full speed ahead, the other kids took off in a good jogging pace. As I'm watching Briggs in his full sprint I start thinking about how far he'll go until he stops and comes back. There were a few good markers in his path, trees, posts, etc., none of which he apparently cared to call a stopping point however. My curiosity goes up another notch into tingling gut mode as I start asking myself the uncomfortable question of whether or not he's going to stop, ever. When he crossed about the 250 yard mark my tingling gut notches up to "oh sheesh now I have to get him" mode. SO, I grab Max, put him on my shoulders, and start jogging after Briggs as he's got about 300 yards on me now and hasn't paused or looked back for a second.

For the first 40 yards Max was having a blast riding on Dad's shoulders like a horse. After that though I'm pretty sure he got nauseous from the commotion and wanted me to carry him in my arms. I can't think of another time in my life when I've tried to makeup 200 yards on someone I'm chasing while toting 25 pounds in my arms without busting into a full sprint, but it was probably one of the most challenging exercises I've had to do since college soccer. At this point Briggs has reached a tree line that the trail runs through and I'm thinking, okay surely he'll think better of going through the woods, he did pause for a brief few seconds but continued on after seeing the other kids trotting through as well. So, on my chase goes.

I decide to go around the trees and try to cut him off on the other side where the trail comes out. In the midst of swapping a freaked out Max from arm to arm I catch a whiff of something... I think to myself, surely, SURELY Max has not had a stinky diaper during the one time in my life I'm trying to catch up to my oldest son running at full gallop away from me. I thought wrong on a lot of occasions that day. So, with stinky child in arm I decide it can't get much worse and continue on, starting to run out of breath after about 3/4's of a mile. FINALLY Briggs comes out on the other side of the woods, I'm in ear shot and start hollering at him. He stops, looks up as if the voice of God is calling him, looks around like a lost bird, doesn't look backward though, and continues on. Me and stinky sprint on a little further and I holler some more, FINALLY AGAIN he stops, this time he looks back, and after I get his attention by wildly waving my arms he starts to head back toward us. I put stinky down and catch my breath.

I can't remember what he said exactly when I asked him what he was thinking, I think it was something along the lines of "I don't know, I was just running" and then he went on about how thirsty he was. I scolded him a little and stressed how unsafe it was to get that far away, and took a good bit of the blame myself for not pre-job briefing him before he started. So me, stinky, and thirsty made the trek back to the car with thirsty wanting me to carry him because he was so tired. I carried both of them for a little way and made them walk after that. We got to the car, I changed out a ginormous diaper and we finally headed home. Once we got home and got settled, all three of us didn't have any problem going to sleep. I'll give him credit, he did run farther and harder than I'd ever seen him. Thank God it ended well. Les got a great laugh out of it. Lesson learned, the hard way.

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