No elegant way of putting it: I got beat my a Girl. I guess that’s not entirely uncommon. I’ve been beaten by plenty — PLENTY of girls (not to mention — women too). But this was different — this was my own Girl. A 12 year old Girl.

It was inevitable, I guess. I knew it was going to happen during our last race that we did together, on New Year’s eve. She put on a little surge and it took everything I had to hold on. If she had surged again that was going to be it. She knew it, I knew it. Fortunately, she didn’t and we finished that one as we had so many others: holding hands. But alas, I knew the end was near.

This time, we ran the first mile together. I knew almost immediately, I was holding her back. Shortly after the mile mark she saw another girl around her age ahead of her, who was slightly faltering. I looked sideways at her and she had the look of a shark in the water, smelling chum. I knew exactly what was going to happen. She put in a surge and I could not go. She looked back at me for a second for my approval. In that split second, everything changed.

“Go for it I said” and not a word more was necessary. She was off and running and despite my pain all I could do was smile and admire both her tenacity and amazing form. She quickly caught up and passed the girl in front of her and kept rolling. Within five minutes, she was gone completely from my view. Talk about a kick in the ass.

The race concluded with a lap around a college track. When I entered the stadium, I could see her coming down the straight away of the finish. She was waiting for me all smiles at the end, with a look that was half “sorry dad” and half “haha I kicked your ass.”

Though I felt my age, maybe more so than ever, it was also arguably one of my proudest moments ever, despite the fact that well, things are now different. A new pecking order has been established. 

Youth has been served. She ended up running a time of 21:30 and those days are pretty much behind me.

What can I say but Run, Little Girl, Run. May the wind forever be at your back.

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