Tuesday, March 16, 2010
just like mommy
claire & granny didi doing some pre-race stretching
The best way to give the gift of a healthy lifestyle to your children is to model that lifestyle. I've been trying to model this for my daughter Claire...in fact, I took up running about 3 months after she was born (thanks in part to her colic, which was only soothed to sleep if I walked her in her stroller, which I did, 7 or 8 miles a day...it was only a very short leap to running once I'd accomplished 16 m/m while pushing a stroller up hills).
Any way, I've only raced a handful of times, but I've tried to have Claire there to see them - to feel the energy, to hear the people shouting "yay" and ringing cowbells, to see me trot by in my running tights...Claire loves that I run and has been aching to run with me. Once or twice, we've played at racing, running up & down our driveway with homemade bib numbers. But when I've asked Claire if she liked it, she always said, "I guess...but there were no people saying 'yay.'" For Claire, a race is when people are there to cheer you on, you get a finishers medal, and have a bib number.
Then, lo & behold, I sign up for the Disney Princess Half and discover that there is a kids' race the day before. Reading about the race I discover that for a nominal fee (like $10), Claire will have her own bib number (just like mommy), get a race day t-shirt (just like mommy) and a finisher's medal (just like mommy)! I sign up my budding runner and is she every excited! One day at Target, I get her her first running outfit (cute tech tee and matching running skirt...just like mommy).
On Kids Race Day, Claire, her Granny Di (my mommy), and I head to the ESPN complex. The track & field part are swarming with parents and kids, there's a lot of confusion, and the booming voice of whomever's emceeing adding to the bedlam. The three of us trot out onto the field and dance our warm-ups. I've got some fantastic memories of tiny, blond Claire dancing MJ's "Thriller".
Finally, it's time to race...Claire is in with all the wee little ones. Her birthday has her in the 1-3 yr old group running the 100m, but she is by far one of the oldest kids there (I should've moved her to the 200m with the 4 yr olds). 1-3 yr old is too wide of an age range - there were kids there who were just walking, a bajillion parents holding wee ones, and a couple capable kids like Claire. We're all lined up waiting...waiting...waiting...Apparently, Disney in its wisdom decided to have the 1m race first, so all the older bigger kids begin (keeping several hundred wee ones calm for the 25 minute wait was torture on most parents...) Claire was into the race enough to be happy cheering for all the big kids running the mile, passing us for the finish line. A few parents ran with their kids, which got me thinking that I could probably have sing Claire up for the mile and we could've run, walked, and carried her through it...
It's just about our turn. Claire says to me, "Mommy, you don't have to run this with me like all the other parents are. I know how to run by myself." My big girl!!
I step to the side, allowing Claire to jockey for her position. She seems like this wee little thing lost in a forest of big Mommy & Daddy legs. But she is feeling so big and so proud! We wait a bit more...and finally the 100 meter race starts!
Claire begins running. She runs slowly, with big bounding steps and the moms and dads pull ahead...20 meters in and finally the pack clears and Claire has space to run. The sun is hot & bright and she is loving the way her ponytail shadow is bouncing, so she's running while looking at her shadow - she's found that pure joy! big huge smile on her face...I jog ahead to take pictures and am yelling "yay Claire! Go Claire!!" but every time I pull a few steps ahead, she begins a faster surge...
And then it's done, too soon! I hug Claire and she is laughing she is so happy with herself. We go get her medal and I tell her I want a picture of her with the medal on. And still so proud of herself, Claire raises one arm in the arm in that classic (and I guess primal, because who ever taught her that?) pose of pure happyness and victory and pride!!
Just like mommy!