On Monday April 14, Cole came home from school with a note that said that he was signed up for several events at the elementary track and field competition the following afternoon Tuesday April 15. Be at the track (at the community gym) right after school at 3:30pm. That was the first that we had heard about a track and field event. We had heard Cole talking about working on track and field during PE at school, but we didn't know there was an event coming up. Typical notice for Saipan though. Actually, I guess we were lucky because we were notified a day ahead of time, rather than the day of the event. We have learned to go with the flow here, and made arrangements Monday night for our carpooling of kids home from school on Tuesday.
We learned that Cole had signed up to run the 200 m, the 1,500 m, and the 4 x 100 m relay. If you are not familiar with these distances, 200 m is half-way around a 400 m track, the typical track that goes around a football field. 1,500 m is about 100 m short of a mile (about 4 times around the track). The 4 x 100 m relay is a relay of 4 people, each running 100 m, so once around the track.
Cole is 6 years old (he'll be 7 in May). I used to run track in high school, but I never ran distances like 1,500 m. So I was very skeptical about his ability to finish this race. But his teacher/coach had confidence in him, and we have done several 5k charity run/walks, so I know he can do the distance, I just didn't know if he could do it without stopping. So Maria and I were supportive and wished him well, and told him to do his best, and not to run to fast... PACE YOURSELF. I don't know if PACE YOURSELF means anything to a six year old.
Tuesday April 15 was a very hot muggy day, and all the kids were very hyped up about the track meet. Kids were sprinting all over the place, showing each other how fast they are. We tried to tell Cole to save himself for the races, but you know kids. Anyway, it took them so long to get organized, that by the time Cole's event was to start (after the long jump and the 100 m race), that it had cooled down quite a bit. The 100 m had taken a long time, because they only ran 4-5 kids in a heat (that's how many stop watches they had), and there were a lot of kids (boys and girls) in 2 different age divisions (10 & under; 8 & under). Finally the 1,500 m started at 6 pm. They ran all the entrants (boys/girls of all ages) in one heat. There were only 15 kids in this race.
When they started many of the kids started sprinting right away. Grabriella, 10, the daughter of a friend of ours was near the back of the pack but keeping a steady pace, and Cole was a little over mid-way back. That sprint only lasted a little over 100 m, then the overall pace slowed down quite a bit. As Cole passed the first 200 m I yelled to tell him not go so fast (he still had 3 more laps around the track). (The photo is Cole on his first lap - blue shirted boy to the left).
By the end of the first lap, Gabby had pulled into the lead, and was obviously going win. She lapped Cole on her last lap, as Cole was finishing his 3rd (I again yelled to remind him not to sprint now, that he still had one lap to go). On his last lap, with 100 m to go, a small girl came sprinting up from behind, and Cole took on the challenge. (The photo is the girl just getting even with Cole before they both started sprinting. They both sprinted the last 100 m. I think she edged out Cole at the finish line because he later told me he got 13th out of the 15. I think one did not finish.
I was so proud of him. I couldn't believe that he ran the whole way - 1,500 m - without stopping! My friends around me were also very impressed, and Maria said that she even heard about his achievement from teachers at the high school the next day. He didn't win, but he was probably the youngest kid in that race.
Immediately after that race, it was time for the 200 m. Coach Tyce asked Cole if he was up for more running, or if he wanted to rest a while. Cole immediately said he was up for it, and headed off to the 200 m start area. Luckily for him it was almost 30 minutes before his heat ran (they ran the girls first, then the boys starting with the older ones first).
Then after the 200 m came the 4 x 100 m relay. They practised hand-offs at the finish line for a few minutes, and explained to the kids how the relay worked. Cole ran the first leg. They're team ended up coming in last. But it was fun to watch none-the-less.
The track and field events continue next Tuesday with the 4 x 400 m relay, softball toss, and 400 m? I can't remember what Cole is signed up for, but I hope I take better photos than I did this week, and that he has as much fun as he did.