When talk started bubbling up at my kid’s school that a bunch of students and their parents were going to run the Robbie Burns 8K my heart swelled. Some of my best times running, and parenting, have been at the races, and this is both with my 8-year-old daughter and 6-year-old boy. The races bring us together and let us share something beyond homework and discipline. Joining my kids as they accomplish something difficult is a feeling that I find hard to explain. It’s showing them that they can do anything they put their heart into. It’s like a physical application of all that I preach.
8K is a serious distance. When talk began about the race, a bunch of kids were doing it, but now race day is Sunday and there’s only two left. My daughter was always circumspect. We’ve been training and she has done the distance. But it’s not always pleasant. In fact: it’s sometimes not pleasant. It’s cold outside. And anything after four kilometres is a grind. She’s done VR Pro’s 5K in Burlington on Canada Day and twice ran the 5K on Toronto Island for the SuperPower run. My son ran the Zoo Run by the Canada Running Series. That last race in particular was special. My son was having a tough time adjusting from day care to junior kindergarden. He couldn’t stand in line and couldn’t sit quietly in a circle. We were concerned and that concern manifest itself in being strict, which doesn’t come natural to me. I felt bad. But on race day, my boy grew right in front of my eyes.
Eight kilometres is much too far to run for 6-year-old Matthew. And on Sunday when my daughter and I went training, a dog jumped on her and knocked her down. She got up and continued running, but let’s just say the conditions and that stupid dog (or dog owner) have not made this Sunday’s race a walk in the park. But we’re all signed up for the event. And I know she can do it and she knows she can do it and she knows that, even when it’s hard and doesn’t feel good, that she can keep pushing forward. That if she just trudges on, eventually, she’ll reach the finish line.
I hope I’m not pushing my kids into running. We hope the decisions we make for our loved ones are good. But we’ll dress warmly for the event on Sunday and I’ll jog right beside her and we’ll walk if we have to, there’s no shame in that. But it was very exciting as the editor of iRun to hear other families get excited about running. In the winter, there’s just so much TV. I’m looking forward to getting outside with my daughter. And if you overhear someone in the playground discussing a race, maybe give it a try.