Yesterday our middle guy had basketball practice, so I thought that Bryce and I would nab a geocache in the area rather than go home and stare at the television. He readily agreed, so i printed out the sheet and off we went. The cache is located underneath a bridge that is on a bike path that runs to his school. We’d been on that trail many, many times while I ran and he either ate or dozed in the jogging stroller. He’s also walked along it to school, during one of the school’s ‘walk to school’ days. The cache container was up in the rafters of the bridge; an easy find, but as it is called “TripTrap”, I got to tell him the story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
After we walked back to the car (probably a half mile out and back walk), we decided to hike along a local trail to see if a letterbox was still there that B, T, and I had found about 2 years ago. It is located near the high point of my ‘test’ trail, the Hazen Trail, of which I have written many times. It is the famous trail where you can see Uranus: (hat tip to @theboringrunner)
As soon as we got onto the trail, Bryce took off running. It was great! He was winding around the trees, deftly dancing across the roots, leaping dips. It was a joy to see. We got to the spot, but couldn’t find the box. I thought that B would want to go back home, but instead he said, “Dad, can we keep running? I really like it out here in the woods.” My heart leapt with joy, and off we ran. And ran. And of course we walked: “hold on, Dad, i gotta rest for a second.” Three seconds later, BOOM! off we went. As I ran behind him, I was watching his form and his feet. You know what I learned? I learned to relax.
There are a few technical parts on the trail that I usually get a little tense about (might roll an ankle, fall, bash my face), and as we approached them, I would call out warnings. He’d wave back, letting me know he heard me, but wouldn’t slow much. His little feet, shod in some canvas slip on shoes, danced lightly along the stones, carrying him across the sections with seemingly little effort or anxiety. This was the first time he'd seen this part of the trail, and had NO IDEA how much further we had to go before we reached the turn around point at the museum. He said he wanted to go all the way to the Sun.
And we did. Then we ran back. All together, he did about 3.75 miles. On the trail, we covered just over 5k, having run about 2.5 miles of it. I was amazed. He said, several times, “Dad, we should do this EVERY DAY!!!!”
Without a doubt, this was the best 5k of my life. Thank you, Bryce. I love you, Dad.