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December 14, 2007

Bright Lights, Big Dreams

Wait - before we start ...


(There - I got it out of the way early, and I won't mention it again. Just think of how nice it will be around here next week, when we can get straight to the posts. Speaking of which ... )

“Dad, I need to talk to you about my Christmas list to Santa!”

My 6-year-old daughter approached me with this remark about 2 weeks ago, after looking at the calendar and realizing that Christmas was less than a month away. Her statement was delivered with the exact sense of urgency you would expect from a 6-year-old writing the most important essay of her life.

The twist to this story is that her emergent tone wasn’t focused upon her own gift list; she had long since determined what her top choices were. Rather, she was concerned about how she could assist me. More specifically, she started the following conversation:

Her: Remember last year, when I asked Santa for a pair of running shoes for you, and he actually brought them?

Me: Yeah, that was cool. Santa’s awesome.

Her: I was thinking I could ask for something for you again this year. But you need to tell me soon so I can finish my list.

Me: OK … I’ll think of something soon, and let you know.

Last year, she surprised me by asking if there was anything I needed from Santa, so I jokingly told her to put me down for a pair of trail running shoes. And then – wouldn’t you know it? – Santa came through and actually brought them for me. Have I mentioned that I’m a big Santa Claus fan?

I had forgotten about that turn of events in the 11 months since, but my daughter remembered it well. Not only that, but she wanted to do the same thing this year and make it a tradition. Have I also mentioned that I’m a big fan of my daughter?

The trouble was, this conversation took place less than a week before the Western States lottery, and I wasn’t sure what my spring race schedule would be - and, by extension, what training gear I would need – until after the drawing. So I put off her requests for a few days until I saw the lottery results.

Then I went to her room, and we had this discussion:

Me: Hey – I know what you can ask Santa for this year, for me.

Her: Great! What is it?

Me: I’m doing a race next summer where I’ll have to run all through the night, and I’ll need a bright flashlight so I can see in the dark while I’m doing it. Can you ask Santa to bring me a flashlight?

Her: OK … but do you mean the kind of light that you wear on your head, or the kind that you carry in your hand?

(I mean … how many 6-year-olds know that trail runners use both headlamps and flashlights? I’ve mentioned how much I like this girl, right?)

Me: The hand-held kind. I’ll use that and my headlamp at the same time.

Her: OK – I’ll go write it down right now.

And that’s exactly what she did. Immediately below her requests for an American Girl doll and clothes for her teddy bear, she wrote the following:

… and a flashlight for my daddy so he can go running in the dark.

She didn’t specify that her daddy was thinking of a Fenix L2D CREE 6-Mode LED model, but I’m fairly certain that Santa will figure that part out. He seems to do pretty well that way.

Last week, the letter was sealed up and mailed to the North Pole. Now all we have to do is wait a couple of weeks to see what shows up under the tree on Christmas morning.

My daughter understands that not all of Santa’s wishes get fulfilled, but she seems pretty confident that her request for me will be granted. I have to admit that I share her sense of optimism about this one. Like I said before, Santa’s awesome.

And here’s the best thing about the gift: next year, when I’m using my new flashlight, it will be a handy reminder of the bright, considerate little girl who brokered the Santa deal for me. That’s sure to be a comforting thought as I’m running mile after mile through the darkness.


Nancy Toby 12/14/07, 6:43 AM  

My daughter is asking for a helicopter. Perhaps your daughter can put in a good word for her?

Spokane Al 12/14/07, 6:56 AM  

Very nice. It sounds like she has not fallen far from the tree.

Anne 12/14/07, 7:15 AM  

Maybe I should send my wish list to your daughter. Sounds like she's got a lot more clout with the North Pole.

stronger 12/14/07, 7:27 AM  

What a sweetheart!

momo 12/14/07, 8:43 AM  

that santa - he's a pretty smart one, isn't he?

Backofpack 12/14/07, 8:56 AM  

I do love Santa! There is only one wish he didn't make come true for my boys. They wanted a video game system (can't remember what it was at the time) and said they were going to ask Santa. I had to break the news to them that Santa won't bring things that your parents don't approve of. So really, Santa wasn't the fall guy, I was. They never did ask for it, they found other things instead. I've never had a regret about denying them that one thing, and wonderful Santa, made all the other wishes come true.

Here's to your daughter - and to her parents, for being loving and caring and thinking about you!

Juls 12/14/07, 9:04 AM  

What would you recommend that I ask for in the headlamp/flashlight category? I'm looking for a good light to allow me to run in the morning/night while it is still dark out. I don't want to have to worry about cracks in the sidewalks, or those pokey-ball things on the ground. I want to see far enough ahead that I can see danger before I am upon it.

olga 12/14/07, 11:52 AM  

Your daughter is one awesome little girl! Made my eyes well up:)

Deene 12/14/07, 12:09 PM  

sweet little girl, i've become a fan as well. i need a new mag lite.
hope she gets Kaya, along with the horse and tipi.

Laurie 12/14/07, 3:19 PM  

That is so sweet! I love when you write about your kids.

Rainmaker 12/14/07, 4:45 PM  

That's pretty cool that a 6-year old knows about headlamps. Imagine at 8-years old? She's going to be overhauling your bike for you.

That should be the goal anyway...

RunBubbaRun 12/14/07, 9:02 PM  

Pretty smart trail runner kid, you might have to write a seperate letter to Santa and specify the make and model of the flashlight thou..

He might just get you a "barbie" flashlight.

ps. congrats on you WS entry.

Darrell 12/15/07, 9:02 AM  

I love this stuff.
You make me wish I could go back and do some of my kids childhood all over again, without the screwups and floundering.

Merry Christmas!

Runner Susan 12/15/07, 12:02 PM  

your daughter is adorable! I'm a huge Santa fan myself.

E-Speed 12/16/07, 3:40 AM  

congrats on getting into western states! You'll definitely need that flashlight :)

What a sweet daughter!

Wingman 12/17/07, 10:45 AM  

That story totally made my day! Your kid sounds great.

Journey to a Centum 12/17/07, 2:29 PM  

Great story Donald!

Hey, a lot of WS runners used two lights with a headlamp for their head and a wiast lamp too. I tried using both when I did the 24 summits run last summer and it worked really well so I ran CCC with two and didn't fall once. I used an old headlamp that I had. The headband will expand to fit your waist and it provides a steady beam on the trail before you. The headlamp on your head allows you to look around while running and blind people at the aid stations. Gosh, I wonder if Santa could bring two lights for Christmas?

Merry Christmas and congratulations on getting into WS100.

Trail Scat

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