A.M. Total of 12. All with the kids. Benjamin did 8.5, Jenny 4, Julia 2, Joseph and Jacob 2, William 0.5. I did a 3 mile tempo run down the canyon with Benjamin on my usual course from Nunns to the mouth of the canyon. It was a historic run. Benjamin gapped me in a tempo run at the end for the first time while I ran well. He also pulled me when I was struggling. I suppose it was time for the son to give back to the father. A special moment.
Our target was 16:00 or 5:20 pace. The plan was for me to pull Benjamin until the last half mile, then he would take the lead and push if he felt good. We opened with 82 quarter on a slow part, then once we hit the nice downhill I pushed a bit to make up the loss, and we hit the mile in 5:16. Then we did 79, 79, 81. Seeing the drop in the pace and not feeling strong enough to fix the problem, I asked Benjamin to help me. He moved forward and I sat on him for the rest of the run. Our next quarter was 82 (he took over in the middle and being caught by surprise was a bit cautious), giving us 10:37 (5:21) at 2 miles. Drafting made things easier for me, so 81 was quite comfortable, but I decided I will not do anything about it until the 5:20 guy catches us. So we did 81, 81, and now the 5:20 guy was just a second behind. So I told Benjamin to hit the gas, which he did and we ran the next to last quarter in 79. Then we pushed at the end. In the last 100 meters Benjamin shifted gears into the range that I found inaccessible. So he ended up finishing in around 15:54.3, while I got 15:55.0.
I was happy with my result, especially given the lack of sleep and the heart skipping beats during the tempo, which I think did contribute to my weakness in the last 1.25 miles. But the legs were strong from the leg press exercises, so they made up for the deficit somewhat. But I was much happier with Benjamin's. Prior to this I had never been schooled by a 14-year-old over 3 miles in any condition, definitely not in my current condition for sure.
With the good news we got bad one, of course. Just as I was getting excited about Benjamin's abilities, I learned that it was against the rules for him to run in high school meets unless he affiliated himself with a high school team. If I went back to my old Russian habits, I would have had a few special words to say about that, in Russian for strong effect, as Russians are the masters of swearing, but when I was baptized I made a covenant to avoid this form of expression. So I will try to express my feelings in a more mature way.
People ask me why I would not just sign Benjamin up to run for Orem High or some other eligible school. I have nothing against Orem High or other hard working and not very well compensated high school coaches, some of whom are on this blog. But I do have an issue with the whole system. I believe home schooling is a superior way of education. The key predictor in the future success of a child is parental involvement, which tends to lack when the child spends countless hours away from the parents. Yet for one reason or another home schooling tends to be marginalized in our society. You have to work extra hard to prove that you are legitimate. The UHSAA rules regarding home school athletes is case in point.
Aside from that, I worked hard to make sure that Benjamin got the best chance to develop his running talent. I have sacrificed my own training and my own professional development to make it happen. When he races well, I do not want the average result peruser to assume that his performance is a result of our high school system. Not because I want the credit, but because I want the truth to be known. I want people to know what it takes to run fast and do it. And that, I believe, starts not with the school, but with the family.
So for now the plan is to stick to road races, USATF events, and next year he should be ready to run respectable collegiate times, and we should be able to put him in collegiate meets which tend to not have affiliation requirements.