It was the spring of 2012 during my daughter's first track season. Kneeling in the grass along the track I clapped my hands and shouted, "Go, Maddie!" as she pumped her little legs and arms as fast as she could down the track. She was in kindergarten.
I'll never forget that moment because I felt so proud that my little girl was participating in a sport so young, and she loved it. When I was growing up, sports were limited and mostly geared toward boys.
The following week as I sat in the bleachers snapping photos of my son who was also in track, it occurred to me that just because I didn't race as a child didn't mean I couldn't run in a race as an adult.
That week I started training for a 5K. It wasn't easy. While I had run on the treadmill at the gym before, I had never run outside, and I discovered it was much harder. When I first started, I couldn't even run a mile. But every day that summer, the kids and I would tour the neighborhood—they rode on their bikes or scooters, and I would run.
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As the weeks went by, I built my endurance and eventually ran a mile, then two miles, finally working my way up to three. With each mile I discovered I loved running more and more.
I decided to run a 5K that July in St. Paul, MN. Even after I made my decision, though, I still wondered if I could do it. By race day I was excited and nervous. I made the rookie mistake of running too fast the first mile, then burning out between the second and third, but I kept on and finished in 35:54, a pace of 11:34 per mile. I did it!
Since then I've run three other 5Ks and a 7K! My next challenge is the Rock 'n Sole Quarter Marathon (6.55 miles) in Milwaukee, WI, this weekend.
The best part about having a new workout I love is the promise of exercising in the future with my children. This weekend my son was begging to go to the track to practice his sprints. While he did that, my daughter, now age 7, and I ran around the track. The surprise of the day: She ran her first mile non-stop! Last year I couldn't imagine running a mile, let alone running a mile with my daughter. Now I say, bring them on!