Usually the beau and I go to Citi Field on the 4th of July but this year, the Mets were playing in California and we couldn’t swing that weekend away. Soooo, being home gave me the opportunity to run the Firecracker4! Growing up just outside of Saratoga, I never had any desire to run this race because the temperature is usually hot hot hot.
But this year I decided to run because the kiddos I use to take care of were all running and Rocco asked me if I’d like to join him. I immediately said yes (anything for Rocco) and blocked off that morning for a good time. Saturday morning rolled around and I was up with the sun getting ready. My plan was to run with him but still wanted to see my team beforehand. When I arrived to pick Rocco up, he was still in bed! I think his nerves kicked in because he hadn’t trained and he was worried I wanted to race. I quickly reassured him that my number one goal for the day was to have fun and gave him a little pep talk. He was out of bed before I knew it and ready for his pre-race smoothie.
Bib pick-up for six people was a breeze and we shuffled over to our tent for a pre-race photo:
We eventually met up with the rest of his family about a half hour before the start of the race but as soon as Rocco saw others starting to line up, he wanted to hop into the corral. He admitted he was nervous and I told him that was a good thing– they’d help us cross the finish line! He also hinted that he’d like to beat last year’s time which I thought was great and suggested the run five minutes, walk two minutes strategy. He was game!
We started off running as soon as the gun went off and golly did he have momentum! We were “suppose” to start walking as we climbed the hill on Broadway, but Rocco was feeling good so we pressed on. Before I knew it, we were approaching the first mile marker and high fives were given. Right around this time, we found his mom and younger brother, Agostino, and stuck with them until the finish.
We did a lot of walking but also set running goals– to the mailbox, okay, to the stop light– we ran through every sprinkler with our arms up in the air and the boys enjoyed dumping (multiple) cups of water over themselves. I remember climbing that last hill and seeing the finish line and thinking, “okay, let’s do this!” Rocco’s response was, “red! freeze pop” to the lady on the side of the course. I almost died laughing because that’s exactly how I felt last year during the Boilermaker when I snagged an orange pop. Never again!
After a couple of bites, he handed me the pop, refocused and started to slow down to catch his breath. I kept telling him that he could do it, he’d respond with he was doing it, and I’d reaffirm louder that he WAS doing it! Before I knew it, he was in an all-out sprint for the finish line! I have no clue where that jolt of energy came from but he beat me and I crossed the finish line with the biggest smile on my face.
This was one of my favorite races to date. We got extremely lucky with the weather- although it did start to rain during our last mile and it would have been nice to see the parade- and it was great to spend time with the kiddos again. Crossing the finish line with Rocco reminded me that it was just a race and there will always be plenty more, so we should have fun at all times.