"No, mom," says Rachel, "I want to run there like you did."
I later convinced her that an 8-mile round trip might be a bit too much for her right now and we should do a smaller run. "Okay, mom, at 3 o'clock tomorrow, we will go for a run. Don't forget!"
How could I forget? My daughter wants to run with me. That's awesome! Between the time she asked me to go running and when we actually went running, it was all she could talk about.
"I want you to train me to run races, mom, like you do."
"Do you think you'll be able to keep up with me, mom?"
"Can I run with you in your next race?"
"I'm going to be a runner!"
|Rachel running to first base|
at her t-ball game.
The time was upon us. It was time to run. She got her tennis shoes on and watched me as I laced up my running shoes. I asked her if she wanted me to put her hair in a ponytail. She declined. She hates getting her hair done, so this was no surprise. We bid Arik, Dani, and the boys farewell and headed out the door. Our neighborhood is a loop. Going around once is about a half a mile. I figured we'd try to go around twice for one complete mile; Rachel's first mile.
I showed her how to warm up and quick like a bunny she was off and I ran after her. She kept looking over at me to mimic my movements. She was dead serious and if you know my daughter, that's something. She insisted on talking the whole way, which I totally knew she would, which meant she got out of breath quite often. She'd jabber on about how you shouldn't run over rocks or dirt, or how those birds up there better watch out, or how she could feel her legs getting stronger which meant that she was positive she could be up to that 8-mile windmill run by, most likely, tomorrow.
I told her that if she needed to, we could walk for a bit. About half way through the first loop, she admitted that she, "might like to walk for a bit."
So we walked for a bit and I showed her how to stop for a minute and do some stretches. She took a lot of joy is taking off mid-stretch, leaving me in her dust. "Come on, slow poke!", she'd say.
It continued on like this as we ran/walked through her first mile. I tried teaching her about pacing, but that was more than a little confusing for her. Instead, I'd say, "Just stay with me."
When we had one more corner to go before we got back to the house, I told Rachel we should run without stopping until we got to the house. She immediately declared, "We should race!"
"On your mark, get set, go!"
She practically giggled through the whole race as she was gasping for breath. She just couldn't help herself; racing was too much fun. I kept telling her it would be easier to breathe if she wouldn't talk. "Okay, mom, I'll stop talking right now." Ten miliseconds later...."Hey mom, do you think I could beat a hawk in a race?" Oh, Rachel.
We made it back to the house, completed a few more stretches and then went inside for a big glass of water. Later that night, Rachel was rubbing her legs. I asked if they hurt. "No, mom, I'm just trying to see if my muscles are bigger now."
At bedtime, as I tucked her in, she asked if we could go running again. "You bet!", I said.
"Cause I want to be a runner, mom, just like you."
I think I left my heart in a puddle right there.
I now have a new reason to keep doing this; in hopes that I might pass this down to my kids. Pass down the importance of taking care of your body and of committing yourself to reach goals you once thought impossible. Without even knowing it, I was making an impression on my daughter and now she's decided to join me and become part of my running journey. Nothing can be sweeter than that.