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From the Head Coach: It's not about the race, but how you run it

March 31, 2011 at midnight
Updated March 30, 2011 at 10:31 p.m.


By Lane Johnson Last week, I ran the 34th annual Statesman Capitol 10,000 in Austin.

The Cap10K, as it has become more affectionately known, is a 6-mile party through downtown Austin. Of the 20,000 people who run this race every year, some are serious runners, but most are revelers. You'll see costumes, line dancers, marching marines, dragons, runners, walkers and crawlers. What can I say? It's Austin.

This year, the Cap10K was especially enjoyable because I ran with my 35-year-old son, Adam. The last time I ran a 10K against him was 20 years ago. He was 15. I wasn't. That race took place in downtown Victoria. We ran a half-mile loop along Bridge and Main streets 12 times. I was standing right next to Adam when the race began.

Have you ever planned to keep up with someone, but you immediately feel the strength of acceleration in his youthful legs and you know you were in trouble?

My only hope was that we were running six miles.

Maybe I could out last him. After all, I had been running much longer than he had.

Maybe what he had in speed, I could overcome with endurance, experience and wisdom.

I decided to let him go for the first half of the race. After 3 miles, I began my comeback strategy. Every few blocks I accelerated briefly to shorten the distance between us. Then, I backed off and rested for a while. I had 3 miles to systematically reel him in.

Since I was behind him, Adam never saw me getting closer and closer. As long as he didn't look back, I could time this just right to make sure I didn't catch him too soon.

I didn't want him to have time to respond once I surged past him. My plan was working beautifully.

By the time I was within striking distance, we were only two blocks from the finish line. I inched closer.

Unfortunately, we were running on Main Street in downtown Victoria. There are buildings on each side of the street. And these buildings have windows. Only on this day they were more like mirrors.

Adam happened to glance to his side and saw my reflection in one of the windows. He took off. I was no match. He beat me soundly.

That was 20 years ago. Adam is now 20 years older. Of course, so am I.

Funny thing about aging; our age is constantly changing, but the difference in age between two people never changes. But the Cap10K is run in Austin, not Victoria. The finish line is at Town Lake, and there aren't any storefront windows to give me away. So, the rematch was on.

The starting gun sounded, but we never moved - 20,000 people take a long time to get started. It took us eight minutes of slow walking before we even reached the starting line. I hung with Adam pretty well during that part. But, then it got ugly. It was nip and tuck for a while.

Then a funny thing happened. We decided it was more fun running with each other than against. So, we cast aside any competitive history and ran a delightful race, finishing side by side.

So, what did I learn from all of this? It's not about the race. The race just gives us a reason to play.

When we are family, some things never change. We may grow older, and our life events may change us into whoever we are today, be it good or bad. But one thing doesn't have to change.

When we get together, if we play with each other instead of competing, arguing, or trying to finish old scores, those days of old recreate themselves, and it feels like time is standing still.

Family can be fun to play with. When our kids were younger, we did it all the time. In fact, we had to work at getting serious and buckling down. Now, it seems to be the other way around. That's unfortunate.

I think next year I'll run the Cap10K in costume and invite the whole family.

Lane Johnson, M.Div., LPC, is a licensed counselor. He welcomes your comments. You can contact him by email at lane@StrategicConnectionGroup.com.

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