Yesterday was the absolute most perfect day for the National Capital Races. Warm but not too hot; sunny but not too blazing. We had such a great time.
After getting lost about four times (I am SUCH a suburbanite), we found parking about 2 kilometers (just over a mile) from the finish line. We spread out a blanket in a little park that was right along the raceway, and had a picnic, drew pictures, and cheered hundreds of runners as they pushed on to the finish. After a while, we knew that Sir Monkeypants would be coming by any minute, so the kids got out the signs they had decorated with hand-drawn pictures and many stickers, and stood by the roadway. The Captain’s sign said, “Go Daddy Go,” and the Gal’s said, “We love you, Daddy!” and almost everyone who ran past us had to comment on how cute they were — especially once the Captain started bellowing “DAAAADDDDEEEEEEEEE!” into the crowd.
Eventually Sir Monkeypants ran by and the big kids gave him high-fives, while poor Little Miss Sunshine, who had been really enjoying the picnic and the sun, got very confused. Why was Daddy running by? Why didn’t he stay? What WERE we doing out here?
Does it make me a bad mother that I found her little look of cross confusion to be so adorable?
We then walked up to the finish line to meet up with Sir Monkeypants. I like to refer to this section of the day as My Own Personal Marathon, as I walked with a 30-pound picnic backpack, pulling a wagon loaded with two little girls, jackets, blankets, and other picnic supplies, through crowds and unpaved grassy areas, for two kilometers. And, I do not care what macho posturing Sir Monkeypants was doing, I swear it was ALL UPHILL.
But the amazing thing is that the kids were so, so very good. The Captain did the walk too, and rather than fussing or complaining he spent the whole walk making up games and skipping around and chatting about the race. Every time I glanced back at the wagon, the Gal was entertaining the Little Miss with stories, songs, or funny faces, which is seriously amazing, since the Gal pretty much always wishes that the Little Miss could be returned to the Baby Sister Store. So even though I was unattractively damp by the time we made the finish line, it was a good trip.
We picked up Sir Monkeypants right away and strolled back to the car — another 2 km, but another nice walk. This time, as we passed by the last leg of the race course, we got to see a lot of people who were clearly going to have a big personal triumph in just finishing the race. These were people who had been on the marathon course for at least 5 1/2 hours, and people who had been running or walking the half for at least 3 1/2 hours… people who were really inspiring. Since the crowds had really thinned out we did our best to cheer, and I was really impressed at the race officials along the course, who were still calling out encouragement and clapping their approval after many, many hours in the sun. All in all it was a great thing to have witnessed.
Then we came home and had a fun time playing in the backyard with the neighbouring kids. We got out the barbecue for the first time this year and had a yummy dinner. By six o’clock, all three kids were absolutely zonked, and both Sir Monkeypants and I were starting to feel the effects of our physical exertions, so everyone went to bed early.
It was such a great day, I think we’ll do it again next year!