The Jekyll and Hyde Effect

During these races it’s like I am against myself – “Rob the Dad” vs. “Rob the Competitor.” I want the latter to win. I need the former to win more.

It won’t surprise a lot of my friends I didn’t sleep much Saturday night. Though the reason I didn’t sleep well would likely shock them.

No, I didn’t get as many Z’s as one should get because my favorite football team was in the big game Sunday night. Several know I sometimes have had trouble sleeping the night before the Super Bowl because the weekend is a constant reminder of my Mother’s unexpected death in 2007 on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s been a couple of years since it affected my slumber.

After taking a year off, I returned last year to watching the last movie my Mother and I went to the theater to see together – “For Love of the Game” at least once. There had been times I had watched over and over again until it was time to get ready for church that Sunday morning.

What kept me up most of Saturday night and into Sunday morning was Saturday morning’s 500 Festival 3 Miler – the first of the three races of the Miler Series.



Shirt for this year’s 500 Festival Miler Series.


I beat Ryan by two seconds in the race, which started and finished at the NCAA Hall of Champions in White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis. The fact I finished ahead of him weighed on me the rest of the day while I was at work. It did so even more as my head hit the pillow to end the day.

Ryan and I hadn’t had a chance to discuss the race. Wendy and I didn’t even have an opportunity to talk about it because we were busy getting Stately Rueff Manor ready for our big-game party the next day.

Saturday was also its own kind of madness because not only did Ryan and I have our race downtown, but Micah, Luke, and Ryan had their wooden-car Grand Prix. Andrew was also in the mix with Bible Bowl, where Luke would eventually join for the afternoon session.

Wendy was out as soon as her head hit the pillow. I was the complete opposite. I went into the “man cave” and watched the movie. I played some pool – not even trying to make shots just hitting the balls around. Then I went into my office and thought about what was causing my lack of sleep.

When it comes to these races I have a split personality. It’s a delicate balance I know I am far from mastering and may never completely control.

There’s “Rob the Dad”, who wants to pace Ryan throughout the race and put him in a position to have a solid kick at the end and finish strong.

The opposite me is “Rob the Competitor,” who watches as other runners arrive at the race. I size up the competition for not only Ryan but for me.

I see people I know from high school, college, and other connections throughout my life. In my mind, I look at these people, especially those who were more athletic than me when I was in my youth, and I think to myself, “Today, I am going to crush you. I’m not going to show any mercy.” Sometimes I even hear myself doing a John Kreese impersonation voice in my head as I think it.



Admit it at some point we’ve all had a little John Kreese come out in us.


During these races it’s like I am against myself – “Rob the Dad” vs. “Rob the Competitor.” I want the latter to win. I need the former to win more.

After the race Saturday, I spent most of my time trying to figure out how I could have a balance between the two. It gnawed at me enough on Monday during our run outside I finally talked to Ryan about it.

“Does it bother you I beat you Saturday in the race?” I asked as we ran on the path in the subdivision next to ours and it winds to be parallel with Smith Valley Road.

“No,” Ryan replied.

“Are you sure?” I asked.

Dad!” Ryan exclaimed. “I just want to run.”

Ryan’s response also presents a double-edged sword for both of us. On one hand, Ryan doesn’t care if he places. On the other, ask if he wants to be faster and beat me or anyone else on the course he cracks a smile at you and answers in the affirmative.

The Race

After arriving at the White River State Park in the dark and walking to the NCAA Hall of Champions, we watched the sun rise as other runners arrived for the 9 a.m. start. This race would be the biggest crowd we had raced in since the Mill Race Half Marathon in Columbus in September of last year.

As it is in the winter in Indiana, it was a typical cold morning for the first weekend of February. I had a good laugh the one morning I checked the weather forecast and put the conditions into the Runner’s World “What to Wear” tool. When I put in the conditions the tool recommended shorts, long-sleeve shirt, and gloves. I’m all about the 20-degree rule (dress as if it is 20 degrees warmer than the actual air temperature), but this particular morning I could not justify the suggested attire by the tool when it was 23 degrees with a windchill of about 13. Although the winner of the race, Mark Scott, did, in fact, wear shorts and a tank top.



Mark Scott braved the cold weather to win the 500 Festival Miler Series 3-miler last Saturday (Photo courtesy of the 500 Festival).



Around 8:30 a.m. we went outside to take the knit hats Ortho Indy passed out to the participants back to the car. As we walked back to the car even with the sun beginning to shine it still was too cold to even think about running without our jackets. When we got back inside I took our bibs off the shirts and put them on our jackets.



The knit hat OrthoIndy handed out to participants of the 500 Festival Miler Series 3-mile Race last Saturday.


About 10 minutes before “post time” we ventured out to the walkway in front of the Hall of Champions for final instructions and the start of the race.

Right at 9 a.m., the horn went off and the green flags waved. It took us a little over a half minute to get up to the starting line to begin running. As it was during the beginning of the Mill Race Half and the Race Away Domestic Violence 5k last year it took some time for the crowd to thin out and settle into a pace.



Somewhere in this picture, Ryan and I will eventually start the 500 Festival Miler Series 3-mile race (Photo courtesy of 500 Festival).


The pack began to disperse as we entered onto Washington Street and ran passed Victory Field. As usual, I got out in front of Ryan and began to find a comfortable pace. As we got to the White River Gardens the course turns off Washington Street and on to South White River Parkway West for a little over seven-tenths of a mile before returning to Washington Street.

The first mile of the race is completed just as you make the turn around on White River Parkway about a tenth of a mile north of Oliver Avenue. The MapMyRun app had me at 7:21 pace – a solid first mile. Ryan remained about 50 feet away as I looked back.

Once I made the turn and completed the first mile I slowed down some to meet up with Ryan. I asked him how he felt and how he was handling the crowd. He said he was doing fine. I asked him if the pace was to his liking and he said yes to that as well.

As we made it back on to Washington Street and past the White River Gardens and the Indianapolis Zoo I again picked up the pace. I continued to look back and noticed Ryan was having trouble getting through to get up to me. We made the turn to North White River Parkway West we completed the second mile and I slowed again to meet with Ryan and hand him his water bottle off the hydration belt.

“One more mile and be ready for me to tell you to ‘kick and go,’,” I said.

“Alright,” Ryan replied.

I returned to the pace I had during most of the second mile as we then turned on to New York Street and then to White River Park trail and behind the athletic facilities of the IUPUI campus. When we approached the softball fields I looked at my phone and saw we had a half mile left to the finish line. Ryan had remained about 50 feet from me, but there were still several runners between us.

I turned my head and yelled back at him, “It’s kick time, Ryan. Go! Come and catch me!”

Even with all the people between us, I could hear his footsteps. They were getting closer.

As we were behind the IUPUI Natatorium, I looked back and Ryan was still trying to navigate around other runners. I got the sense he was becoming frustrated not being able to catch me.

Finally, we could see the finish line. The MapMyRun app had us running at about a 6:30 pace and as we crossed the finish line we were at 5:59 pace.

Our time was 22:28 for me and 22:30 for Ryan. Ryan had finished second in his age group, 76th for all males and 84th overall. Like the Festive Four Mile Foot Fest at Perry Meridian on Thanksgiving, our times were in the standard needed for the preference line of seeding for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon in May.



All smiles after another successful race in the 500 Festival Miler Series 3-mile race.


As we finished the race last Saturday, Kim Gale, the director of marketing for the Mini, was at the finish line. I asked her how she thought Ryan looked at the finish of the race. “I think he looked great,” she replied in a message. “In fact, I thought he looked like he could have kept going, and that’s what you want.”

I agree with Gale’s assessment that these Miler Series races are great “dress rehearsals” and will help Ryan be able to maneuver around traffic for when there will be 35,000 people running with us on May 7.

Being the Dad and the competitor – it’s a balancing act.


  • It’s been even colder this week in Indiana. We were able to get out for an outdoor run on Monday morning. Of course, in celebration of the Broncos Super Bowl win from the previous night, I wore my Broncos jersey. I got it when Elvis Dumervil was No. 92, but I secretly say it’s Sylvester Williams since he now wears the number. We have run the rest of the week at the Mount Pleasant Church Community Life Center.



All the weekend accomplishments celebrated – time to get back at it Monday with a 5k.


  • The 500 Festival revealed the medals for this year’s Mini Marathon and 5k. The Mini Borg Warner Trophies are going to be a huge hit. The medals measure 5.75 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide and weigh in at a substantial 175 grams.



The medals for this year’s 500 Festival 5k and Mini Marathon races. (Photo courtesy of 500 Festival).


When I showed Ryan the picture of the medals after our run last Friday his reaction went like this –

Me: “Hey, here’s the medal for the 500 Mini.”

Ryan: “That’s awesome. Wait.”

Me: “Wait? What?”

Ryan: “There’s something missing.”

Me: “What’s missing?”

Ryan: “The winner’s faces.”

On the Borg-Warner Trophy presented to the winner of the Indianapolis 500 the winners of all the previous races are sculpted on the trophy.

  • Howard Harrell – the Center Grove Cross Country Coach – invited us to join the team’s website they use to track miles. The runner’s from the fun run at the Runner’s Forum from back in November have sent a couple of messages asking how Ryan’s doing and tell him to keep up the hard work during the training.

2 thoughts on “The Jekyll and Hyde Effect

  1. Such a great post, Rob. So many battle the Jekyll and Hyde in their own lives *Jen raises her hand* Thank you for sharing your journey with Ryan!


    • So glad you liked it, Jen. It has been quite the adventure. It will be a year next month when Ryan began running with me. Look forward to celebrating his “Runversary.”


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