Today was a busy day for Zach. We found out that this weekend was the Beaverdale Fall Festival, and with that was the Beaver Dash 5k. I decided not to do the run, but Zach really wanted to do the Beaver Trot, which was the race for kids. So we headed down to Beaverdale bright and early and got all set up for Zach's big race.
Zach and I got a little warm-up in before the race started.
We found the starting line for the 4 and 5 year-olds and the kids were off! I don't think you can see Zach in this picture, but I put it in to show all the kids in Zach's age group.
The night before the big race, Zach prayed that God would give him "power" to help him run fast. I think this picture shows some power, as he blows past that cute little girl in red.
He really did a great job with the race. I thought maybe he'd get tired out and would slow down before the finish line, but from where I stood (which, granted, was behind him), it looked like he ran hard all the way to the end.
Here is the proud guy with his ribbon.
After the race ended, Mike headed home to work on his lecture for the class he's teaching next weekend at DMU, and Zach and Drew stayed with Grandma Cynthia, who had met us before Zach's race, and watched part of the Beaverdale Fall Festival parade. I left to go do a 9 mile run on one of my favorite trails that I haven't run on in years. It was a perfect day for a long run- not too hot, slight breeze, and the trail had plenty of shady patches. I was quickly reminded of the things I love and hate about this trail. I love the gorgeous and varied views- the trail winds through forests and prairies, alongside cornfields and a butterfly garden, and above a reservoir. However, this trail also has quite a variation in elevation, so there are some big hills. I always start at the 10 mile-marker, and today I ran up to the 14.5 mile-marker and back down to 10. Just about at the 11.25 mile-marker begins this steep hill, and the climb continues until right at the 12 mile-marker, with one little teaser flat-spot of a few yards in the middle. The only upside to this monstrous hill is that when I'm really tired and near the end of my run, I get to run down it, and it's a nice rest for my legs. There's also a very small but very steep hill at about the 13.75 mile-marker, and it's tough because I have to go up it on the way back, when I'm tired, but at least it's short.
I finished the run and headed to Kevin and Cynthia's house, which is very near the trail. I got there just a little before Cynthia and the boys, who left the parade before it ended. Apparently it's about a 2-hour parade, so they opted to not stay for the whole thing. Zach did come home with lots of candy (Mike and I have been enjoying it already) and a story about how he was sneaking candy into the bags of two little girls near him because they weren't getting much. I thought this was very sweet, and then we asked him if it was his idea to do that or Grandma Cynthia's, and he told us it was Grandma's idea, so although it was still sweet of him to do it, it was less sweet that he didn't think of it on his own. Anyway, the boys had a lot of fun playing around and watching the parade with Grandma Cynthia.
We headed home for a quick clean-up and lunch, and then Grandma Cynthia was at our house to stay with Drew while Mike and I went to Zach's first soccer game. The game was right at Drew's nap time; otherwise he would have gone with us.
Here's Zach right before we left for the game. Zach plays on a U6 league, which means the kids are all 4 or 5, and of course, the uniforms are all size small, which is 6-8, so Zach's just swimming in it. He still looks cute, though, if you ask me! The funny thing about this picture is that Mike was getting totally annoyed with Zach while trying to take this picture, as Zach was complaining about how bright it was outside and he would NOT look up towards the camera. He kept staring straight at the ground and doing this terrible, pained, fake smile. Though I was annoyed, too, I was laughing at the whole situation. Finally I suggested that maybe we change angles so that Zach wasn't looking into the sun, and viola! we got this very nice picture.
In the U6 soccer games, the kids play 3 v. 3 with no goalie. There are 6 kids on a team, and they play 8 minute quarters, switching out players every 4 minutes. It seems like a good system. The coaches just ref, and no score is kept. It seems like a perfect introduction to the game of soccer, as it's very low-key and fun for the kids.
Just like t-ball, though, it's very obvious which kids played soccer last year, and which ones are new. And, as will be the case with most activities, Zach is one of the youngest, and often smallest, out there. For two people as competitive as Mike and me, it's sometimes difficult for us when it seems like Zach is less focused on the ball and the play that's happening than he is on how great that kick he had 5 minutes ago was. I truly do believe, though, that the most important thing is for Zach to just have fun out there, and that learning the strategy of the game will come later, when he is developmentally ready for it. It's still really hard to bite our tongues, though, and not give him tips and pointers all the time. All that being said, Zach did score a goal in his first game, so that made us all very happy. In all the seasons (which number about 6 or 7, I think) I've been playing soccer in my co-ed "Over the Hill" league, I think I've only scored one goal, so already Zach and I are tied! My excuse is that I'm playing with guys who don't always like to pass to the women on their team and that I'm playing against mostly guys, which makes it a lot tougher, too, but still, I hope he's a better scorer than I am!
We didn't get a picture of Zach scoring his goal, but here he is (on the far left), getting in the mix at least. Notice the two kids in the green uniforms, fighting for the ball. Classic little kid soccer- teammates stealing the ball from each other.
What a fun day. Thanks, Cynthia, for coming to watch Zach's race and for helping us out so much today. We appreciated it!
*Ok, a little side note- it's 10:45 p.m., and we just heard Zach, who has been in bed for 2.5 hours, get up upstairs. Then we heard him com traipsing downstairs and down the hallway. Mike turned around and said, "Hi Zach," and Zach looked at him, blinked a few times, and turned around and went back upstairs, never saying a word. That was funny!