A.M. Allie and James decided to prepare for their wedding by putting on a race as if the wedding itself was not enough of a hassle already. They came up with a great idea - race 5000 meters on the track with a team of up to 25 runners each running a multiple of 200 meter segments with the runners being allowed to run multiple non-consecutive legs. This created a rare opportunity for our entire family to participate. We split it like this: starting with Stephen (22 months old, 200 meters), then William (3 years, 200), Sarah (the mother of the running children 3 months pregnant with her eighth, 200), Jacob (5 years old, 200), Joseph (7, 200), Julia (9, 200), Jenny (11, 200), after than I alternated with Benjamin (13 years old) every 400 meters with me running 5 of those, and Benjamin 4.
Stephen was the reason we were able to break 18:00. In practice his best time was 1:56. But on race day he pulled off 1:41. Of course he put us in the last place, and we got lapped by Jake's team for the first time at that point - Devra running 200 meters followed by Kevin's quarter was 1:41 as well. But they were much older than 22 months, and they were out of diapers, so they had a good reason for being a lap ahead.
William ran the second leg in around 1:12, passed one team ending our last place problem, and handed off to Sarah. At that point, I was in charge of Stephen, and Benjamin was in charge of William who started crying because Sarah left without him (both he and Stephen did not cry during their legs, and only William cried afterwards), and we had to hand them off to Sarah once she finished her leg so we could do ours. So those logistical challenges prevented me from taking the splits. However, Sarah, Jacob, Joseph, Julia, and Jenny put in a good effort and I recall getting the baton 1400 meters into the race at 6:46 from Jenny.
Jake got the baton at around the same time a bit behind me, except they were 2200 meters into the race. He passed me after the first 50 meters or so. Thinking that he will run some longer distance at maybe 4:40 per mile pace or so I started following him. Then when I saw that the first 200 meters was around 30 seconds and now starting to feel the pain of the pace I realized the problem. Jake was running a shorter distance. I had just run the first half of my leg at my near PR 400 meter pace. I had 4 more after that with only a little over a minute rest. So I backed off and coasted, but it was too late. The proverbial anaerobic bear had jumped out of the steeple chase pit and was already riding on my back.
The rest of the race was a blur for me. I would run my leg, hand off to Benjamin, then try to regain consciousness while Joseph was asking me questions which I lacked the presence of mind to answer, once I did become conscious again I would see Benjamin half way through his leg and get ready for the next one. I tried to keep track of the splits, but it was not very successful. I think I do recall hitting one quarter in 71. We were going back and forth with the Jake's team now, with us sometimes being "ahead", or rather behind by less than two laps, and sometimes them being ahead by a bit more than two laps. They ended up ahead of us by a bit more than two laps finishing in 15:11.
I really was feeling it in my last leg. My legs felt like lead and refused to move. I was really glad the race was over when we finished in 17:45. So Benjamin and I managed to run the last 3600 in 10:59, which is 73.2 per lap average. We passed all the other teams except Jake's and ended up finishing second. Jake's team was gracious enough to donate to us their $100 prize for the win, for which we are very thankful.
Afterwards, I ran some more with the kids, and more at home with Sarah following me on a bike. I ended up with a total of 12 miles, Benjamin did a total of 6, Jenny ran about 0.5 - her legs were hurting, Julia and Joseph 2, Jacob 1, William 0.12.
This was a good experience in working together as a family towards a common goal with the strong supporting the weak, and the weakest link in the chain working hard to improve its strength. I feel good about being able to say that our entire family with this age distribution, number of children, pregnant mother, and the requirement for each member to participate for at least 200 meters was able to average 5:42.8 per mile over 5000 meters.