Building Character, Part 2

Lily loves to run and her dad loves to race. He does pretty well at local 5Ks and often places in the top four for his age group, or at least close to that. We’ve been encouraging Lily to run races too because she’s fast and seems to like it. She did very well at her first 1k, in fact I held her back by running too slow. We decided to let her try something longer, so this past Friday we entered her in a 1 mile race. We were pretty sure she could run a mile considering running a fast half mile doesn’t even wind her.

What we didn’t count on when signing her up for this race was how hot it would be. It was 85 degrees and very humid. The sun was blasting down and she was overheated before she even ran. See how flushed she was in this photo?

That was a BEFORE picture. She hadn’t even run yet.

So I was staring at this flushed, sweaty kid who was supposed to run a mile and I felt incredibly guilty. Maybe she shouldn’t be running this race? We’d already paid for it and we’d built it up big as an exciting event in her life, but it was so hot that I didn’t even want to be outside. I would NEVER run outside in that weather, yet I expected my 5 year old to do just that? I felt like a bad mom for even considering it.

But we decided to let her run it. If she needed to stop, she would stop. We’d loaded her with fluids, so we figured she probably wouldn’t dehydrate. In fact, she later told me that she’d had so much to drink that she needed to pee during the race! I worried about overheating, but again, she could stop. We let her go just to see what would happen.

It turned out that she was the youngest kid to complete the race, but she was miserable during it. She ended up walking a large portion of the race and was one of the last kids to cross the finish line. But you know what? We’re super proud of her because she tried it even though it was super hot and she finished. She didn’t beg to be carried and she didn’t sit down or stop. She finished.
She finished with a strong enthusiasm despite all that walking and all that heat. She loved crossing that finish line.

We figure that super hot run built character in her. Further character was built when we had to run to the car afterward in a monsoon-like downpour.

So in the course of a week, I forced my kids to swim in chilly air, run in scorching heat and get soaked in a monsoon. They’ll be tough chicks when they grow up– a lot tougher than me, that’s for sure!


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