“DIG DOWN DEEP!!!” my daughter, Brianne, yelled out to one of the HHS runners at the first home track meet this season. It struck me so funny I collapsed onto the infield rolling in laughter.
She’s been around the summer 5K circuit with my mom and I since she was just a little bean sprout, and hanging out at the track since she was 18 months old. It’s very obvious that she feels it’s ‘her turf.’ High-fiving the High Schoolers ‘Good Luck” and “Good Job”…passing out stickers…(the boy’s reactions are the best).
“Are you going to be a runner, Brianne?” I asked her.
“I already am a runner, Mom.” she stoutly replied. I mean, a couple more years and there will undoubtedly be a “Duh,Mom’ hinging on the end of that phrase. I’m all about encouraging her interest in the sport. I would LOVE to watch her tear up the track. Fingers crossed….
Still, she just turned four. Way to early to label her a runner for life yet, right? However…..
This spring she has been just as caught up in preparing to ‘win her race’ than she is with breaking in her brand new bike. We are all forced to play starter (‘boom’ for the gunshot start included) and cheering crowd to prepare for the big day, as well.
That local summer 5K circuit I mentioned starts out every year with the Huron Lighthouse 5K in our home town. I’ve entered Brianne in the kids fun run since she was 2. That precious little toddler, putting her head down to sprint to the finish was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!!!!
See, in her mind, she believes herself to be equal to full grown peeps. She pumps her arms, concentrates on her breathing…does everything she sees Grammy, Mommy,my good friend ‘Coach Dee,’ and all of the high school distance runners that we help coach, do during practices and races. It’s hilarious to watch. Who wouldn’t want encourage it?
Never, did I think, she’d be begging me to let her run with me at four years old. Everyday, asking if it’s warm enough to wear her new running gear that she got for her birthday. Or, asking for new running shoes to win her ‘race’ in for her birthday. “Really? No American Girl doll? You want running shoes?”
“Yep. One’s with the pointy things sticking out of the bottom,” she specifies.
(Yes, she means spikes.)
We started running down the street and back together, and the girl looked up at me with an enormous smile the whole time.
“I’ll be damned,” I thought. “She might just have a natural love for this.”
We ran down the street, down to Grandma’s house and back (half mile), then we decided to try a mile. She got all decked out in her running clothes and Little Nike Runner shoes and plastered a huge smile on her face.
My little four year old ran a whole mile that day. When she whined, I trained her to respond to “Runners don’t…” with “quit,” and to think about happy things when it starts to hurt a little.
“Mom, when I’m running my race you gotta tell me ‘Get your butt moving!!!” Fearing I may push her too hard, I opted not to run with her on race day.
This year, at the kids fun run…she completed the whole thing (I’m not sure it was a full mile…but she did the whole course). Decked out in her pink running outfit and Nike running shoes…hair braided like Mommy when she runs…and a huge smile. She didn’t care that it was only 55 degrees out. Running tank, shorts, and Barbie socks over a couple fingers to keep warm. She ran by me cheering for her smiling and waving…and then smiled at the other kids running with her as if they were sharing the funnest moment ever.
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As she jolted off to the finish, I had a huge lump of tears in my throat.
I scooped her up for a congratulatory hug, and when she caught her breath, she said “OK, I want my M&M’s now.” (there was a pack in our race packets.)
Talking about the race on the way home, I told her I was so proud of her that I cried happy tears the whole time she was running. When I asked her how she felt during the race, she said…
“I thought about happy thoughts, Mommy! Like you and me going to Snoopy’s house, and riding the Jr. Gemini……”
I saw pieces of me in her today, and I’m glad they’re good pieces.