Dear Chicken Nugget and Garbanzo Bean,
First, let me start by explaining to the little one yet to be named that your mami and I tried a number of different things to call you. We settled on Care Bear because, well, mami loves Care Bears.
But, the other day, Nugget, who has been calling you "the baby" this whole time, called you "Garbanzo Bean" and that I like much better.
So, why is Papi writing about being number 1? Because today, I was!
As you'll come to learn, Papi and Mami like to do crazy athletic things like race each other in triathlons, swim in the early morning, run long distances before the sun comes up, and do yoga in 100+ degree rooms. However, we don't usually win things. We may compete against each other and win bragging rights but we don't win actual races against other people. Most of the time.
Back in 2005 I had signed up a friend for a Spring Couples Relay. It consisted of a Run, Bike, and Row. My friend dropped out at the last minute and I recruited a running club teammate as a substitute. We didn't think we had done that well, our rowing was a zig-zag across a Central Park lake, but as we walked away from the finish we heard our team name being called. Apparently we had come in Third Place in our Combined Age Group, 36-50. I had never won something so that little plaque meant a lot.
Nothing ever came close to that until last year. Your Uncle Bob, your Mami, and I signed up for a Scavenger Hunt race called the Challenge Nation. It was built so that at its most efficient, you ran a 5k. We had to run around New York City, finding clues, taking pictures, and getting strangers to do random things. When we made the final dash to the finish we were surprised to find that no one was there yet. The race officials looked up and told us we were the first group to finish. After a review of our pictures and time, we were awarded $100 each. First place at a race.
Then, today happened. As I train for a half-marathon in September, I realized last week that I was due to run a 5k race to test my legs. I found a small 5k at the last minute and signed up. There were 150 runners, small by NYC standards and race officials announced prizes for lots of age groups. As I eyed my fellow runners I estimated that a good number of them fell into my age group, 26-35.
The race took place in Van Cortland Park in the Bronx, on my favorite route in the city, a cross-country run through wooded trails. It's very hilly so I had wanted to start slow. As the horn went off I found myself in the lead pack, going faster than I wanted. However, I had spent the previous week running through hills in Missouri with your Uncle Jerry, during a week-long family reunion, so I thought I might be able to stay strong through the hills. And, I did!
I passed three runners in the lead group and maintained my distance from them. I didn't win the race but was pleasantly surprised to hear "Christian Ledesma" announced as the 1st place age group finisher, ages 26-35. As I was handed the medal, I felt that this was a good sign of things to come.
Like I said, our race history accomplishments don't usually extend beyond finishing a race so when we do win something, we celebrate.
Today, your Papi was number 1. I've carried my medal around all day long and, Nugget, you even wore it for a while.
The race was small but I worked hard for my medal. There's a lesson in there somewhere: probably that if you want to win races you have to find small races no one knows about...
Love you both,
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