Last year I trained for my first half-marathon. It was a long, 6-month process for me and a huge accomplishment when I crossed that finish line. My two children ran beside me, on the sidewalk, for the last block of that race, and seeing them cheering me on was amazing.
Last month my 10-year-old daughter asked me if I would help her train for her school’s annual 5k.
Until now she has only run in a 1-mile kid’s run, so this was a big upgrade for her. Neither of my kids are involved in sports at all. Though they are active, organized physical activity has never been their thing. I was surprised and proud.
Saturdays were my standard “Long Run” training days for the half, but they have now become “Stella/Mommy” training days.
I am also running the Monument Avenue 10k the week before the school race. But I moved my long runs to another day so that Saturday morning can be all about my little runner.
We get up first thing, grab a quick bite and drive to her school so we can train on the actual course of the race. Afterward, we get smoothies together to refuel. I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to start our weekend.
Stella is loving not only the time we spend together but the idea of setting a goal and working towards it.
On our first run, she was already talking about training for longer races! By the time we had reached 2 miles in her training, she said, “After I can do a 10k I want to do the Half Marathon with you!” I gotta tell you, that made me tear up a little.
The notion that our children see and learn from everything that we, as parents, do is absolutely true.
I never talked to Stella about becoming a runner. It was something that I was doing for me, for my own growth. But she watched me, week by week for 6 months getting stronger and getting closer to my goal. My son asked me once why I ran so much and Stella answered for me “Because she loves it and she’s working towards something.”
She has become inspired and set her own goal.
Tomorrow morning we will head out for her first 3-mile run. We won’t run the whole thing because her endurance isn’t there yet, but we will do 3 miles together.
I find this whole journey of hers symbolic of what I hope her life will be: setting goals, challenging herself, overcoming obstacles and moving forward.
Never forget that our children are watching and that they learn from the examples that we set, whether that be a physical activity or our approach to life.