My daughter, Allison, and I ran the Leavenworth Oktoberfest Half Marathon last Saturday. I enjoyed the race, but the greater joy was spending the day with my adult daughter. I drove over to Leavenworth Friday afternoon and found a camping spot and set up our tent. Allison arrived around 6:30 and treated me to a delicious pasta feed – spaghetti with marinara sauce at Pizza Company. After we walked around town we headed back to camp and went directly to bed. Allison expected to be cold, but she was warm enough in a heavy quilted sleeping bag and a couple extra blankets.
I was surprised to discover that the full marathon started about 1/2 mile from our camp, so I went out to cheer their start. My respect for marathoners went up this weekend. Not only did they run twice as far as Allison and I did, but they started two hours earlier. These are hardy people, or as Allison would say, “Hard core!”
After breakfast, we drove ten miles to the start of the half marathon. We approached the entrance from the mountain side, not the town side, so we did not have to wait in line like most people. Once the sun came up, it was a beautiful day, except for some lingering haze from the forest fires that have been burning the past couple months. The temperature was cool. I elected to wear short sleeves and Allison went with long.
As the start time approached the several thousand runners and friends chatted nervously, stretched, and made last minute rest room visits. Finally, the announcer gave the two minute warning. The tension increased. We studied the small start tunnel that we had to file through to begin the race. Many of us wondered if we had what it would take to cross back through that tunnel after completing 13.1 miles.
Because I expected to run faster, I started ahead of Allison and I was delighted to see her twice where the course cut back. Both of us felt good and held a steady stride throughout the race. Allison finished 20th out of the 210 racers in her division with a time of 1:45:35 and I finished 4th out of 31 in my division with a time of 1:38:11. Even though my time was faster, Allison finished higher in her division than I did. She was in the top 10% while I missed that mark. I also missed getting a medal by 55 seconds.
After the race we agreed, “We came. We saw. We conquered!” We had a wonderful time. We learned some things. And, most importantly for me, I had a wonderful father-daughter adventure.