Wow, thanks for all the great feedback regarding the subject of kids and racing. Most of you supported it as long as the kids were on board. I thought Chris from seechrisyrun.com made an excellent point, and one to think about:
I ran as a kid - started when I was 11 or 12, and eventually developed stress fractures in both of my tibias as well as knee problems. My parents were advised to watch my mileage until my growth plates closed. Also? I burnt out for a few years in my late teens. I think it's just balance with your kids. The cool thing about running is they can take it into their adulthood. I wanted to run a marathon when I was about 14 and my parents said no, as did my doctor. Too many miles for a still growing kid. I'd just keep it in perspective for them.
I definitely think one of the risks of starting early is burn out and risk of injury. When did you start running? Are you glad you started when you did?
So the results are in. Drum roll please!!
Emma (8 years old) with dad: 1:23. She ran the whole thing which shocked the *&!@ out of me. I never saw that one coming. She was so pleased with herself and loved every minute of it. She said she can't wait until next year. WTF?
Sam (11 years old) with mom: 59:21!!! His goal was to make it in under an hour. And he just did that. We kept a decent pace most of the way, but he started to tire around mile five. That's when my annoying pep talk kicked in. I knew if we were going to make it in under an hour, we were going to have to pick it up. I kept telling him that he only had about ten more minutes then he could rest for the day. That if he quit or slowed down, he might be mad at himself. That it would be worth it in the end. That how he felt was how crappy I felt at the end of my marathon, but to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And he pulled it out. He was so psyched. So proud. So glad he stayed in there. And he said at the end, "I wouldn't have done that if you hadn't been there." It was quite a mother/son moment, I tell ya.
Then it was beer and soda all around. Sometimes it's good to have low expectations. You can only go up from there.