That’s the word I choose today. Amazing. My daughter is an amazing human being.
Abby just turned nine. She has constantly surprised me these past nine years. She is incredibly intuitive, intelligent, deeply spiritual, and so down to earth. She is everything I would want her to be, neatly packaged in a beautiful and wonderful strong body, soul, and mind.
Today, she blew me away. Abby started running with me for a mile or two a few years ago. She saw what I was doing, and she wanted in. From a very young age, she would follow me down to the basement and watch me workout. She would hop on her little bike and peddle alongside me as I ran on the treadmill or biked on the trainer. She would pick up the little 5 pound dumbbells and “lift weights” with me. She inspired me to be a good example.
This year, she told me that she wants to up her game. Every year we sign up for 5k’s. Every year we do Run Like A Girl. This year, she told me she wants to do a 10k. Whoa. The most she has done was last summer; a 4 mile race on the 4th of July.
I told her to think long and hard about a 10k. It’s not something that you enter into lightly. She shrugged me off and informed me that she’d like to plan on a 10k at the September race we were going to sign up for. I agreed, figuring we’d have plenty of time to prepare, and that she could also change her mind before then.
For her birthday, I signed her up to do a virtual race – Embrace Your Inner Unicorn. You could choose to do a 5k, 10k, 13.1 or 26.2. I guess I just figured she’d do the 5k and that would be it.
We had planned on doing the run today since she’s on spring break. I got her bib out, told her to get dressed, and filled up our water bottles. She came downstairs and said she was ready.
I asked her what her goal was for our run. Did she have a time in mind? Did she want to set a goal for how many walk breaks she took? What was she hoping to accomplish today? She looked me square in the face and said, “I’m going to run a 10k today.” WHA?
Since we live on a culdesac and also have a nice 1+ mile loop that’s easy to run in the hood, I suggested we set up our water bottles as an aid station in the front of the house and do loops. That way, if she should decide to stop, she could do so at any time. She agreed, and we set off.
Now, this was all her idea. I was just along for the ride, and I didn’t want to push her to do anything she was not comfortable with. I wanted her to set the pace and make all of the decisions. I was trying to be a cheerleader and encourage her, but I also wanted to be realistic.
About 2+ miles in, she confided that she was feeling like she wanted to stop. I suggested we walk a little and enjoy the beautiful weather and not worry about it. We walked for about 30 seconds and she said, let’s keep going…I changed my mind. “Ok” I responded, and we continued on.
About another mile in, she again voiced her concern. “I don’t think I want to do a 10k today. Maybe we should cut this loop short and head back toward the house.”
I responded, “Sure. This is your race, Abby. I’m just here to keep you company. Let’s head back toward the house and see how things feel. We’ll take another water break.”
We walked when she wanted, we ran when she felt like it. It was all good. The whole time, in the back of my head, I knew she was going to do the whole, darn thing. Because, well, that’s my Abby. She’s a stubborn little thing – she doesn’t back down.
We got close to the house and I looked at my watch. “Well, look at that! You just completed more than 4 miles! That’s the longest you’ve ever run. Pretty cool, huh?” Her face lit up, “You’re right, mom!”
I could see the wheels turning…..”I think I want to keep going….”
“How about this,” I began. “Let’s stop for a water break at the house. Then, depending on how you feel, we can run some loops in the culdesac. Whenever you want to stop, we’ll stop. Either way, it’s a distance PR for you.”
“Good idea!” she responded. She was still full of energy, I could tell. We stopped, I sent a quick message about her progress to my husband and then showed her his response. She was so excited to see that he was routing for her and that I was willing to do whatever she wanted. She wanted to keep going.
And, so we did. The closer we got to 6 miles, the more she gained speed. “Abby, you’re totally doing this!” I cheered. Her grin got bigger and bigger. Soon, we only had less than a half mile to go. “How does it feel right now to know that you are going to finish a whole 10k?” I asked. “Pretty amazing!” She responded.
As she took her last strides, that big grin spreading further and further across her face, I felt my heart exploding inside of my chest. She did it. She made the choice to persevere, and she ran all of the way to the finish.
Isn’t this how we feel during long runs and races? Don’t we go up and down with our thoughts…yes, I can do this….no, I can’t….But, if you just keep moving and putting one foot in front of the other, you finish. Kind of a metaphor for life.
I presented her with her medal, we high-fived in the driveway, we did a little celebration dance – it was all perfect! I am so proud of this little kiddo! She continues to grow up and be a strong girl and be an inspiration to me.
Thank you, Abby. You are amazing. And congratulations on your achievement.
Run happy. Run long.
Amy is an ultramarathoner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.