Last night I was doing dishes and wiping counters (I know... right??? *wink*), and DK said, Cupcake, you need to stop what you’re doing, wash your hands and come sit and relax for five minutes. I told him I needed to finish first, and he said, no, you need to come now. I could tell there was some surprise arriving… and sure enough, I turned around, and there was Tyler! Home for the weekend, and today is his 22nd birthday! (photo is of Tyler and Josh at about 2 and 3 years old)
…which gives me the perfect opportunity to tell one of my favorite Tyler stories. Eight years ago, DK and all the kids participated in the Florence Griffith Joyner Memorial 5k, at Saddleback Hospital in Laguna Hills. It was probably about the third year in a row that it had been the early-morning kick-off of our Memorial Day. 3,000 participants warmed up in the parking lot of the Laguna Hills Mall at about 6:15 a.m., and I was trying to keep an eye on four-year-old Cambria and still see the beginning of the race. As soon as the gun went off, Cambria and I jumped in the car and drove to the finish so that we could cheer for each of them as they ran the final quarter-mile.
Josh came in at around seventeen minutes. He was on varsity cross country, and he was pretty competitive. Next DK rolled in at right around 20:00. Not bad for a dad. He and Josh were pretty pleased with their times…although I had to be honest and tell them that they were both beat by Old Guy Who Runs Barefoot and Boy With No Legs. (no shame in that…those guys are FAST). Then Casey crossed the finish. Ethan. Dillon. The minutes rolled on. Thirty minutes had passed, and Tyler still hadn’t finished the race. I was beginning to worry. He was 14 years old, and despite his tendency to take it pretty easy, he should have finished much earlier.
There were many familiar faces in the crowd…friends and neighbors who had also run in the race, and we began to ask around to find out if anyone had seen him. No one had since before the race. It had now been an hour, and during that next little while, we noticed a new set of finishers crossing the line…for the Half Marathon. You don’t suppose…that Tyler ran in the Half Marathon instead of the 5k? Merlin Corbin, one of our friends from church finished the Half Marathon, and we asked him if he had seen Tyler. Yes! He had seen him at about Mile 5. WHAT???
We found out later that the Half Marathon had started 15 minutes before the 5k, and when the gun went off for that earlier race, Tyler couldn’t see his dad or brothers…but people were running, so he took off with them. At that point we had to wonder, what was Tyler doing? There were policemen and race volunteers all along the route who could have brought him to the finish so that he didn’t have to continue, once he had realized his error. Would he run the whole thirteen miles? Josh was so excited that he began to run back through the course from the finish to find Tyler…which he did, about a mile out. Tyler was much less excited than Josh, as the race had been a lot more than he bargained for. He did, however, finish third in his age group, and after he had recovered somewhat, enjoyed a pancake breakfast with the family.
Once his sense of humor had returned, we asked him: Tyler, at what point did you realize you weren’t in the 5k? He replied, I don’t know…I guess about Mile 9?
Happy birthday, Tyler!