Sunday, June 17, 2012

Don’t you give up Elijah at the USA Track and Field Long Island Championships.

Today, for Father’s Day, I was looking forward to watching my youngest take on the 4x100m relay, 800m and 1500m at the USA Track and Field Long Island Championships. I was especially excited to see how my little one would do in the 1500m. He’s only been training for the past 4 months at The Sports Center, and I’ve been amazed with his toughness on certain occasions.

They do plenty of interval training that includes a bunch of 200m, 400m and some hill work in a 90 acres grassy field of Flowerfield in St. James. On occasion I get to run with the kids, and each time I go to train with them, they all zip right by like I was standing still. It’s helped me stay the course as I train for my third NYC Marathon.

Apparently, I have lost all of my fast twitch muscles at my age, because I never really used them over the years. So my dreams of running a 3:15 to qualify for the Boston Marathon will be extra tough to achieve. Thank goodness as I get older, they raise the qualifying time. So I am excited that the kids are putting those muscles to work so they have less of a chance to lose them. They will be able to be fast when they get to my age!

On the far side of the WC Mepham High School track in Bellmore, Elijah starts running after the starting gun popped under cloudy skies. I see him in last place as he comes across the finish line for the first time, and a few of his teammates cheer him on. He has 3 more laps to go.

As he was about to pass his coach by the start, Elijah hesitates. With a little tough love, Coach Grant says, “Don’t you give up!” I think most kids would have cried, stopped and walked off. As Elijah, came around again, you could see his eyes welling up with tears, and he kept on going. More of his teammates, yelled, “Let’s go Elijah!”

Around the bend, the few of the female shot-put contestants say this little boy run pass their event and they cheered for him to keep going. He kept this turnover going, as he was about to pass us for the third time. This time more teammates cheered for him and even the people in the stands were cheering for this little boy whose singlet reaches his knees, and all you can see is his ankles in motion. Being that cute has its advantages!

This time the shot-put event was temporarily paused, as all the contestants cheered on Elijah. As he made his final kick, with the agony shown in his face, the little boy gathered a roar of the crowd. The race official stopped what he was doing and leaned over to tell him that he did a great job. Coach Grant walked over to him to tell him he did great and Zachary handed him a Gatorade.

I am so proud of him for staying in the race and toughing it out. Seeing him cry is not easy.  I know he does not like coming in last. He needs to know that he is running with older kids. Someday soon, he will be leading the pack, and wooing girls all around the track!

He opted out of running in the 800m, which gave him enough time to gather his composure to run with his team to come home with the Gold in the 400m relay!

We gathered our cooler, chairs and tent at the end of the day, and loaded the SUV. I bent over to tell Elijah how awesome he did, and he says, can we go get my medal. I smiled and said sure. As I walked over to the officials table, I noticed they were still downloading the results. I asked Elijah if he wanted to wait or get his medal from Coach Grant tomorrow. First he said he would wait, then I was surprised when he said, “That’s okay, I will get it tomorrow.”

There will be more accolades to come.

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