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Daughters Reflect on Running

May 3, 2010
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As we head down the week that ends in the pancakes-in-bed and homemade-gifts-from-school tradition known as Mother’s Day, we wanted to kick it off with some stories that ended up on the RLAM cutting-room floor for space reasons.

Want to know how your daughter processes your running? Here are four perspectives from daughters whose mothers are fairly serious runners. My take-away: even on days when you’re sure what you say–clean your room, brush your hair, don’t pinch your brother–doesn’t sink in, they soak up your actions and spirit in spades.

Ella and a baby jaguar: is she related to Diego?

Ella: 5 years old
I run with our dog, Babu, a border collie, in the house and in the backyard. Sometimes Cleo, our German shepherd who looks like a police dog, runs too, but not as much as Babu. I’ve also run in races. You have to wear tennis shoes to do races. I win them a little, but all the kids get ribbons. We get a different colored ribbon at every race.

I don’t mind when my mom is out running. Either my dad is home with us, or we have ababysitter. I play with my bucket full of Barbies. Some have blue hair and some have regular hair. So I like it when my mom runs.

At the races my mom and dad do, there’s always lots of food. I like the bagels the most. My mom runs really fast. She likes to keep her medals, so my younger brother doesn’t drop them on the floor or something. But she gives us a hug and a kiss after every race.

Christian and Halee, two butterflies.

Christian: 11 years old
Sometimes I run, but it’s very rare. I did a four-mile race with my family when I was in 4th grade, and I had a lot of breathing problems and cramps. I came in last place because of them. I don’t really like competition. I’d rather run for fun.

I have been playing soccer since I was 3. I like doing the drills and the sprints. We have a field in the back of our house, and my mom said she wants me to run around it ten times every day to get ready for soccer. But I’m not doing it because I’m going to try outfor volleyball this fall instead. I’ve never played it. I was practicing a bit this summer, but then I kinda got lazy.

I do like to watch my mom run, though. I thought it was really cool when she ran a marathon. And then, when she did a 50-miler, I was like, “Whoa!” I always like to run in with her when she finishes. That’s always fun.

Halee: 13 years old, and Christian’s sister
I started running in 3rd grade, in a program called Land Sharks because we knew the coach. I ran slowly, but then, in one 800-meter race, I was in the front at the beginning and I just decided I would go. I got 3rd and it felt good.

Last year, in 7th grade, I was on the track and cross-country teams. Our uniforms are nasty. The warm-up outfits are old and huge on us. And they always run out of my size in the clothes we run in.

I guess I like track more. I ran the mile, 800 meters and hurdles, but I pulled a muscle in my back running hurdles, so I’m not going to do those again. In the mile, every race I did I got a PR. My goal for the season was to get under 7 minutes, and I did: I ran a 6:47. It was really hard. On the second lap, I was freaking out and I couldn’t breathe, but my mom was yelling at me to just keep going. After the third lap, I felt great and I sprinted the last lap. My goal for this year is a 6:30 mile at least. I want to get faster in middle school so I can impress the coaches for high school.

My heart is in running. Because, I just feel like if you’re good at something, you should keep doing it.

Sarah: a tiny image but a mighty runner.

Sarah: 19 years old
In 8th grade, I ran a mile in a track and field community day our school hosted. I hadn’t played sports before that, and it was the first mile I ever ran. I finished in 6:02, and thought

it was awfully hard and long. I was pretty sure that was the end of that, but my mom forced me—just a little—to go out for the cross-country team the following year. I had no idea what cross-country was, and I was worried about losing my identity. I’ve never been much of a team player.

Once school started, I actually liked being on the team, but even more, I love the fact that, in running, you’re responsible for whether you win or lose. I won state my junior year, and was third at the Junior Olympic National Cross-Country Meet my senior year.I’m now a runner at Western Washington University, where I run cross-county, indoor and outdoor track. My PR for the 5K is 16:50, and for the 10K is 34:58. Right now, I’m running 125-mile training weeks over the summer. I don’t think I need to go much higher than that.

After college, I’m setting my sights on the marathon; I want to run in the Olympic Trials in 2012. Right now, my mom has me beat at long distance. When we first started running together, we went down to the track and my dad timed her in the mile. She ran 8 something, and was red faced and exhausted. Now she can run a marathon in less than a 6:30 pace. She’s amazing.

When I was growing up, running was how my mom stayed in shape after having four kids. But she also taught me that whenever I get stressed out, just go for a run. Now, running means a lot more to both of us. Although we run the majority of our miles alone, we occasionally head out together. The other night, while my dad and brother were on a camping trip, we decided to make it a girls’ night and go for a run in dresses. She wore a flowery one, I wore a white, flowing one. We talked about how much nicer it is to run in a dress—no chafing. We just did four miles that night.

p.s. I apologize for not writing a winner’s blog on Friday; one of those days when I needed 28 hours to get everything done, but only had enough energy to survive about 12 hours. Sarah Jane, who didn’t run during pregnancy (“I spent a lot of time on the couch”), lives with her ” swell husband and three little monsters,” and has some great pics on her Minnesota Madre blog, takes home the Jakfish tank. Great comments from all; thank you, thank you.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2010 7:11 am

    What a sweet post! So nice to see the different perspectives at different ages. I’ll have to ask my girls what they think about running (or “wunning” as the 3 yr old says) today. I bought your book this weekend (I got the last one at that particular Barnes&Nobles), an early Mother’s Day gift to myself! : )

  2. becelisa permalink
    May 3, 2010 8:09 am

    when i was training for my first marathon my daughter, who was eight at the time, began to resent the amount of time i spent running. as a single parent, with a career it was hard to juggle everything i had to and it broke my heart when she told her dad that when she was home with me all i did was run. my first reaction was to quit. but then i realized that i never want her to see me as a quitter. i pushed through. ran my race (have done two more as well) and then decided to see if i could help her understand what i love so much about running.

    she’s now done two 5ks. the first one she walked most of but the second one she trained for and ran. by including her in something so important to me, she’s come to respect the challenge, the pain, the accomplishment and the self-confidence running can give. i can’t wait for the day we run a marathon side by side!

    http://becelisa.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/little-runner-girl-2/

  3. May 3, 2010 8:33 am

    How fun! Ella is going to love to see this when she gets home from school.

  4. May 3, 2010 1:46 pm

    My oldest daughter is almost 5 and she loves to run! She is super fast too. Whenever I am almost finished with a race she comes out and holds my hand while we run across the finish line together. I love that moment so much! I cannot wait until she is a bit older and she can start running the whole race with me.

  5. May 3, 2010 8:02 pm

    I love love the different perspectives of this. I don’t have a daughter, but I think my sons will benefit from my running as much as I have. Today I took my two-year-old to the track at the local school. He ran with me…for about 10 seconds. Then he played in the rocks. But he sat and watched me as I ran my 2 miles and I leaned down for kisses as I passed him. It was one of my favorite runs (even if it was slower than molasses).

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