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“Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” (Jenkins Lloyd Jones supposedly said this in the Deseret News in June 1973, other attributions include President Gordon B. Hinckley)

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Gavin’s second Track Meet was more interesting than the first. It was much more organized and easier to watch the runners. Gavin ran the mile and the 800. The only field event at this Meet was the long jump. Gavin was not asked to participate, which is fine with me. He has only been practicing the long jump with his team for about a week.

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We all felt pride watching our Ward members run even though they attend different schools. Lizzie (pictured above) is a rockstar. The girls mile was the very first race. Lizzie was out in front the entire time from what I could see. Then in the final lap a girl from Gavin’s school started to close the gap. I had chills as I watched the mental struggle between the girls.

My brother used to tell me that running isn’t really about speed as much as it is a mental game. If you can pass another runner you won. The defeat of being passed is real. I thought of all of that as I watched a girl I should have been cheering for pass a girl I know from church. Lizzie dug deep to hold her ground but the other girl passed her anyway. I could see Lizzie’s face fall. I could see the disappointment on her face even though I didn’t have the best vantage point.

When the race was over I saw Lizzie and asked her how she placed. She told me she placed fourth. Her mom and Avalon’s mom both swore at different times that Lizzie placed third. Maybe Lizzie was still upset about being passed and thought she was fourth. Where she placed doesn’t really matter though. Her time is iron clad. She ran the mile in 6:03. Her mom said Lizzie’s goal was to run it in less than six minutes so she was bummed by the extra three seconds. This girl just turned 12 in January! The passing girl from Gavin’s school was not a 6th grader! Every race I saw Lizzie in she was leading the pack.

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This picture is from the other race Gavin ran. He is not the slowest and he is definitely not one of the fastest runners. He ran the mile in 7:01. I think that’s fast and it probably isn’t too bad for a 6th grader. Gavin says there are only a handful of 6th graders on the team. This Meet helped me get a better sense of how fast the runners actually are. They are faster than I thought but what do I know, I don’t run! Gavin was second to last in the 800. One kid dropped out early on because he couldn’t breathe.

Gavin’s coaches suggested he run Cross Country in the fall. We completely agree. He has the body for a distance runner plus he doesn’t sprint like the other kids. Avalon’s mom said she and her husband had to really talk Avalon into Track. She prefers Cross Country. She also ran all the short races at the Meet because she hates running on a track. She prefers the rugged terrain of Cross Country! I thought that was funny.

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I love this picture because you can see Parker’s grubby little hand waving at Gavin, cheering him on. Parker and Gwen were much happier at this Meet. It was nice that everyone was sitting in the grass to watch the races. Last time we were lined up on the asphalt in front of the buildings and the runners ran on the grassy field.

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At first they were playing together in the grass. Parker was rolling around in the grass which was making me sneezy just watching him! I don’t think he has high grass allergies because he wasn’t too bothered that day. I was. Grass, trees, flowers, mold, you name it it makes me sneeze. I hate spring!

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Soon Gwen had a following of little girls. They skipped and danced and ran races in the grass. Gwen is like the Pied Piper when it comes to little kids following her around. She also played with a third grade girl who was not much taller than Gwen. I love watching Gwen instantly become best friends with any girl.

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Parker spent most of the afternoon looking something like this. He brought his Kindle but as soon as we arrived he claimed he couldn’t do anything on it because he didn’t have Wi-Fi. So he asked to play on my phone. As soon as Heath finally arrived I gave up my phone. The sun was really bright which made it hard to see the screen. I was having a hard time texting Heath all the exciting news from the first races he missed. At one point our stuff was in the shade but the shade rapidly moved onto the track. Parker did his best to shade the screen to play games and watch YouTube videos of Studio C.

Toward the end of the Meet Parker announced he needed a bathroom. There was a building nearby that looked like it was for restrooms only. But the doors were locked. We walked on campus trying to find an open building with restrooms. We found the girls restroom next to the gym. I couldn’t figure out how to find the boys room without interrupting a basketball practice. None of the other buildings were open.

After all that waste of time I suggested we walk to the public library. It’s just across the street from where we were. Sort of. If we had gone from the track it would have been faster but we wandered around the school grounds on the opposite side from where we needed to be. When we walked past my van I wished I had grabbed my keys and not just my cell phone. On we walked. It’s a decent little walk to the library. We found a hole in the fence that would make a nice shortcut across the field past the track. We went through it on the way back.

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These are my favorite pictures of Gavin. I think he knows he’s not the fastest or most talented runner but he doesn’t care. He’s part of a team for a sport he loves. We told him early on that running is a team sport but it’s more individual. The race is always against himself. He should improve himself each time and not worry about other people.

Yesterday I was talking to some friends. I feel like the two most important messages from that conversation were that children need to have confidence in who they are and mothers need to have confidence in their parenting skills. How you teach a child confidence is beyond me. I have three confident children. They are so different from each other but they are so good at being themselves. I need to stop worrying about what other people think of me because my kids are doing just fine.

Gavin has always inspired me with his self confidence. In that conversation I talked about the past and how Gavin never really had a lot of friends in elementary school. It never bothered him. It bothered all the teachers but Gavin didn’t care. He just did his Gavin thing and was oblivious to the judgments.

I watch him run and I see that confidence again. He’s not Lizzie but he doesn’t care. He is doing what he loves to do. And isn’t that what it’s all about? Do what you love and thank the Lord for letting you enjoy the ride. 

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