Monday, June 30, 2014

Goldie Runs . . . and so does Abe

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she’s up while most of the house still sleeps. We meet in the kitchen and, half awake, swallow down a bowl of cereal or piece of toast. “Drink lots of water,” I remind her. “You don’t want to be thirsty.” -- and she fills her cup.

While breakfast settles, I get my contacts in and set my GPS watch to searching for satellites. Goldie goes upstairs and puts on her green/gray reversible, running shorts. The ones that I gifted her when I realized she was serious about sticking with this. We meet back in the living room, tie running shoes, and head out the door.

“Which way today?” I ask her. “Over towards the school? Up the steep hill to the canal? Or . . .”

Most days she’ll say, “I don’t know,” and, deferring to me, “you choose.” But some days she’ll ask hopefully, “Can we drive up and run on the dirt road?” and we will.

Her original ten-minute pace for one mile is now a nine-minute pace for three. Her once slightly unpredictable gait – now smooth and fluid. I still remind her occasionally to “take it easy – we still have a long way to go”;  but not so much anymore. I can trust her now to find her own pace – one she can keep. When we get to a downhill, I remind her to relax her arms and let the hill carry her. When we get to a climb, she leans into it and lifts her knees the slightest bit higher – just like a good runner should. She doesn’t like to let hills slow or discourage her. She digs in and powers up at a slightly harder pace than what we’d been running. “Goldie!” I call out. “You’re amazing! I think hills are one of your strengths.” And, as usual, my mind starts intertwining running with some larger metaphor for life. Only now, the metaphor includes my nine year old daughter.

This almost didn’t happen.

Initially I answered “no” more often than “yes” to her requests to come running with me. I only had so much time; I’d find other times to train my little girl; I had a loop in mind, and it didn’t lend itself to circling a little person around for a smaller run and dropping her back home; etc.

But as I ran one day (without her) I began asking myself the questions most mothers would have thought to ask much sooner: “Why wouldn’t you want to encourage your daughter to do something good for her that she really wants to do? Why wouldn’t you want the gift of a few moments of time to spend with just her? Why wouldn’t you want her to develop a love for something you love?” And, of course, I knew I absolutely did want all of those things, so . . . we began our little training routine.

I figured it would be helpful for her to have an exciting goal in mind, and this past Saturday she completed that goal by running her first official 5K.

And, while this post was primarily about Goldie, it wouldn’t be fair for me to neglect adding a bit about Abe. Somewhat out-of-the-blue (and fairly last minute) Abe decided he wanted to run the 5K with us. He didn’t seem to feel any strong need to train – only running with Goldie and I a handful of times beforehand, but, despite my worries over his lack of preparation, he held his own just fine! And . . . look at that kick he had left at the end!

Bravo, kids! (And 8 months pregnant mom.)

I don’t particularly care if any of my kids interests or talents ever match my own. I love seeing them develop into their own little selves – little selves who are far more than simply something I have made them; still, I will admit that having them take an interest in something I love so much – and getting to do that with them – has been very happy! (And, it was also very happy that Mike showed up –- with one or two other messy-headed, just-out-of-bed children in tow – to make sure Abe and Goldie were met with plenty of cheers as they finished their first race.)


Linn said...

Oh good grief, the look on Goldie's face while she is running is too much. But the look on your face about did me in. So so sweet. And that Abe, so impressive. There is a whole lot of goodness coming out of that home of yours!

Nancy said...

Thanks Linn!! And, speaking of running, it wouldn't let me comment on your blog, but I wanted to tell YOU loads and loads of congrats on your amazing achievement! And I was so happy to see that your little family showed up with signs and cheers! There is something so . . . I don't know . . . emotional and spiritual about doing hard physical things that it is no wonder having them show up made you nearly cry!

Gayle Harris said...

Way to go, all three of you! I didn't realize that Goldie was becoming a runner, What a fun time to bond, as you do training runs together. I'm also proud of Abe.

Linn said...

Thanks so much Nancy! So kind of you. And yeah, I just took comments off my blog. I'm not sure why. Nothing unfortunate happened, just decided to go without for a while. Maybe to see how I would blog without them and to help me personally focus on it being a family history. I do weird things. Constantly. Way to go again! Both on the race and being the kind of mom you choose to be.

Kara said...

I've wondered if my kids would be up for running with me. This is awesome! And even more awesome is that you're running at 8 months! WOW!!!! I stop as soon as I know I'm prego and don't pick It back up forever. My youngest is 2 in oct and I just started running a few months ago (up to 10k with my first half in august!) Anyway, I love the writing in this. You seem quite patient and happy (my aim with my four under 8.) How do you manage to run with a belly? It hurts me.

Nancy said...

Gayle -- it has been such a fun little way to bond with her! I hope we can find a way to keep it up after baby comes and school starts!

Linn -- Not weird at all. I totally get wanting to do something independent of any feedback but simply because you want to do it for you and yours.

Kara -- About two summers ago I tried letting some of them run with me and it didn't go nearly as well. They just seemed too young to get the concept of "finding a pace" and not just sprinting their tiny little hearts out! But it's seeming much more doable now! I probably shouldn't even post about running when I'm this pregnant. The truth is, I have very easy pregnancies -- and I KNOW others are not all so lucky -- I sometimes joke that I could have been one of those pioneer women just pulling a cart along, stopping to give birth and up pulling again. I do recall having to wear a baby belt (band??) thing with one of mine to keep running while pregnant, but mine always stay up high for so long that I seem to usually be fine running right up to birth. Though the distance becomes very very small and the pace very VERY slow!! ;)As for bring a happy and patient mom . . . happy YES, patient . . . sigh . . . so often not. Especially if I'm hormonal or the house is a mess. Then I struggle plenty to not snap at everyone! Poor kids! Saying little prayers of gratitude every time I notice them doing anything darling during the day helps. Also . . . you are still so much in the thick of it with your oldest being only 8. My oldest three are 13, 12 and 10 (10 as of today!). And while, once Summer is born, I'll still have four under age 8, it feels so different having these older ones! The dynamics make me feel so much less like I'm doing all these little kids on my own. I can leave older ones in charge when I need to run errands, why, they even occasionally put their younger siblings to bed for me!

Unifer said...

you are amazing Nancy!! There is no way I could have run at 8 months but you look amazing!! I am hoping that next pregnancy I will be more like you :D haha

Kara said...

That's definitely helpful. Thank you, friend. :)

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