*The race began in waves. Ours was the second wave to start, a little more than two minutes after the official start time.
The forecast for this morning included a frost warning, and though it was a little chilly that could not quell the excitement of these fifteen or so girls, from Boulevard Elementary as they - we - congregated outside the school, having bagels and orange juice before the bus would take them to Lock 3 in Akron for the big race, the race they had been training for all winter.
There was no actual frost on the grass, as far as I could see.
She wanted to run the entire route without stopping, and boy did she. Only one of her colleagues finished the race before her, her nemesis Vincent, the only boy on the team by virtue of his mom being one of the coaches (for the record, his dad ran the CLE Half this morning in something close to 1:30, which is totally awesome and a feat I may never accomplish.)
I wasn't sure how close to get to the girl as she ran. This wasn't a daddy/daughter event, this was about the girls, on their own, so I hung back a dozen or so yards, she didn't know I was even there. But as her team mates took a break or began to walk, she was eventually entirely on her own, running on her own. I still stayed back, she's very independent and I didn't want her to be distracted by me at all.
By the time the race started it was in the mid to upper fifties, just a beautiful day for running, really. As we came into the homestretch on the Towpath, we passed a parking lot and I remembered that this was the spot where the Kids 1 Mile Fun Run started back in 2007 ... I had just run the Akron Half Marathon, and after my wife run with the girl while I pushed the boy in the stroller on just this section of the Towpath, finishing in pretty much the same place as we did today.