Back toward the end of this past school year my oldest daughter was given a project by her 4th grade teacher. He’s a great teacher and he really taught the kids to stay focused and be creative.
The project was about coming up with a cause and explain why you felt strongly to support it and how you were going to communicate your cause to others.
“Have you thought about what your cause is going to be?” I asked her.
“Cancer research” she said. “I know how important it is and how everyone should help so that’s what I’d like it to be…and you can help with the speech.” Which I did of course.
Each student would first start with a 2 minute speech in front of the whole class. My daughter is bit shy at times so getting in front of her classmates to talk about cancer research was going to be a big deal.
Then I asked her about how she wanted to broadcast her message to the world.
“On the website” she said.
“Do you want me to help you create a fake website for your demonstration?”
“no…I want to be on YOUR website” she said.
If you don’t know my website is for fundraising for the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team. My wife and I are running numerous races this year to help fight cancer.
“Well…to be on my website you’ll need to run a race to help support the cause” “OK” she said.
So that night her and I sat down and looked at all the area 5Ks and one just jumped out at her…Fleet Feet’s Elvis is Alive 5K. This race is in it’s 15th year, takes place on Chicago’s lakefront and features an “all-Elvis” start corral…and of course an Elvis band afterwards. Hilarious.
I told her that I had run this race many times years ago and that it was a lot of fun. I also told her that mommy ran it one year with her in the jog stroller…beating many Elvis runners.
Then I looked at the date of the race…August 16th. That’s the day my Dad died of cancer. It’s been 31 years.
We’d be running this one for Grampa.
The race was held along the lakefront in Chicago. The race would start at the Columbia Yacht Club head down to Museum Campus and back. My wife and my other two daughters would be there in support.
As we walked toward the start I told her how proud of her I was. We have run a few 5ks as a family before but this was to be her first official race…and she was running it for our DetermiNation team.
We got settled into the start corral after a quick photo at the start with, of course an Elvis or two.
It was a it crowded at the start but, like Mommy, she lead the way through the maze of skinny Elvis, black leather Elvis, jump suit Elvis (there were lots of jump suit style Elvis), fat Elvis along with a few Priscillas thrown in for good measure.
I told her we could run at whatever pace she liked. She went out quick then we’d run up against a log jam that we had to run around. When it opened up at about mile 1 she had found her stride and turned it up a bit.
I ran right behind her and she would check over her shoulder to make sure I was there about every 10 seconds.
At mile 2 we ran into my friend Lisa who had been running with her 8 year old son who, by the way, was in full jump suit Elvis mode including wig and sunglasses. He had taken off and was way ahead his Mom.
A little past the 2.5 mile mark we stopped for some water. My daughter chugged it down and took off again. I swear it was like running with a shrunken version of my wife.
As we came toward the finish line I asked her if she’d like to race hard to the end. “No…let’s just finish” she said. I asked if she wanted to hold hands crossing the line. “Yes!” So we did…I almost cried.
We crossed the line at 31:04. Not bad for a 10 year old.
After the race we headed over to the food and found the peanut butter and banana sandwiches…anElvis favorite. She inhaled three and drank a Gatorade. Well deserved.
All in all it was a very memorable experience. She got an “A” on her project and we weren’t past by one Elvis during the race.
This year Team Schober has raised $6,808 in the fight against cancer…and we are not done yet. Please check out our website here -> Team Schober
While walking back to the car my middle daughter asked if I thought she could run a 5k. “Sure honey…with some practice” “Can we pick one out for me to do soon?” she asked. “Sure!” I said.
Competition starts early in my house.