Lizzie’s First Race

Before I was a Mom, I was a runner.

I lived and breathed the sport.

There was nothing that I enjoyed more than lacing up a brand new pair of running shoes and hitting the trails (or the road).

I could run for miles and miles on end and loved every second of it.

In August of 2007, however, I made a conscious decision to trade in my running shoes for diapers.

Well, not completely.

I still own running shoes.  I wear them in front of the TV while I complete various exercise videos.  I wear them as I ride our stationary bike and when I go on walks with my kids.  And every so often, I wear them to actually go running.

But you know what?  After being pregnant and having kids, running just isn’t the same anymore.  I still enjoy it, but it’s just not the same.  I tire more easily.  I can’t run for miles and miles, like I used to.  In fact, I was able to run a mere four miles last week and I had a splitting headache and felt like vomiting the rest of the day.

I know exactly why I felt that way.

I tried to be the kind of runner that I used to be.

It’s impossible to turn back the clock.  It’s impossible to re-create experiences.

I haven’t ran a race since I gave birth to Lizzie.  Why?  Because I’m scared of what I already know to be true…I’m not as fast as I used to be.

Yes, fear mixed with a lot of pride has prevented me from signing up for a single race in 5 1/2 years.

I know, pretty pathetic.

It’s quite embarrassing for me to come to grips with my prideful thinking.

I need to simply let go of my pride and just run a race without feeling like I failed because I didn’t meet my unrealistic expectation of being as fast as I used to be.  It’s absolutely ridiculous.

Fortunately for me, I have a daughter who has unknowingly helped me let go of my pride.

A few weeks ago, Lizzie got to run her first race (1K)!

She was so excited for it!

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Fortunately, the parents were allowed to run with the kids as well.

Being a former runner, you would think that I would have done some training with my daughter prior to her first race.

Nope, I didn’t.

We did go on a few walks in which she ran nearly the entire way.  That seemed sufficient enough. 🙂

She lined up at the starting line and began running when the gun went off.

Clearly, there are many racing strategies that I need to teach her before her next race.  Particularly about pacing.  She was very keen on the sprint/walk/sprint/walk method. 🙂

Admittedly, I am quite ashamed with myself. 

There were times when Lizzie was running the race (well, when she was walking) that I tried a bit too hard to get her to keep running.  I just wanted her to keep running, even if it was slow.  Even if she was the last person across the finish line, I wanted her to run the entire way.  I had seen her run for a lot longer before and I just knew that she could do better than what she was demonstrating.

Why did it matter if she ran the entire way?  She is five years old.  She has never ran a race before.  Who in the world would notice (or even care) if she walked?  What is my problem?

I looked ahead of us and saw a few 2-year-olds.  I literally had to bite my tongue to prevent myself from telling her to try to catch up with the little 2-year-old.

I am such a horrible Mom.  Seriously.  I just can’t get over the fact that the thought even crossed my mind.  I should have been proud of her during every single second of the race.

About half-way through the race, however, I became a “good” mom. 🙂  I did whatever I could to help her finish the race strong.  I stopped comparing her to the other runners.  I simply focused on her and how I could help her.  I picked out various landmarks (poles, bushes, etc.) and told her to try to make it from one landmark to the next (a trick that I used when training for and running marathons).

Ironically, as soon as I lost my competitiveness, Lizzie did a lot better.  🙂  She ran from one pole to the next until she sprinted hard across the finish line.

I was so incredibly proud of her.

She did it!

I don’t know if Lizzie will run another race.  She says that she wants to, but I am not going to force the issue.  I’ll let her take the lead.

Running this short little race with Lizzie has helped me to realize, again, that there is more to racing than going fast.  Simply crossing the finish line is an accomplishment, and one that I hope to achieve again.

Maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year that I take the plunge into the racing community again.

I’ll have to wait and see how this year goes.

Anyone with me? 🙂

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