Taking on the Fit Family Challenge: Week 4
Derek's oldest son Tyler reached a major Fit Family Challenge goal on Memorial Day.
When our family first decided to take part in this year’s Fit Family Challenge we identified a couple of specific things we wanted to do over the course of the program. Two of those things were taking our chocolate lab Dawson for more walks, and walking or running for charity.
My 7-year-old son Tyler has always been fast and has always enjoyed running. He ran twice the laps needed in his school fun run to raise money for the school. Last year when I was a Let Me Run coach he was disappointed that he was too young to take part in the program. With his natural running ability and non-stop energy, we decided that we would train for a 5K together.
Tyler and I signed up for the Steve Smith Family Foundation Lace Up Son 5k on Memorial Day. This gave us about a month to train for the race. Tyler and I practiced a couple times a week, gradually working from 1.5-mile runs to a full 5k. He struggled a little on the last couple runs, so I was a little nervous going into race day. Boy was I wrong.
The goal was for Tyler and me to finish the race in under 30 minutes. Between the excitement of running his first race and the competition all around, Tyler came out of the gate noticeably faster than the training paces we had worked on. He came out running faster than a seven-minute mile, which I worried, would lead to disaster. I repeatedly yelled, “Too fast. Come back to race pace.” Tyler looked back at me with steely-eyed determination and turned right back around. He may have slowed slightly. I knew I’d be in trouble if I didn’t keep a more reasonable pace.
As we got halfway through the 5K, Tyler began to slow down some, but still was holding a great pace. The last half-mile was tough; he was wearing out and asked if he could walk. I was able to encourage him to keep running to the end. As soon as we turned the corner toward the finish line he turned on the afterburners again, finishing with a time of 26:55 and beating his old man (me) by about a second.
I was blown away. I knew Tyler was fast but had no idea he was that fast. I won’t second-guess him and his determination again. He ended up finishing first in his age group, which was really the icing on top of the cake along with hanging out with Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. The biggest payoff was helping him work hard for a goal, reach it and get even more in the end.
WCCB News Rising Host Derek James and his family are participating in the 2016 Fit Family Challenge. Follow along with their healthy family journey in James' blog, Daddy Derek.