My daughter, Grace, is in kindergarten. The day after my recent marathon, she made a point of telling her teachers about my performance. I think her exact words were, "my mom came in 4th in her race. She almost won some money, but she didn't." It's kind of a backwards compliment, I suppose. Clearly, it was a bummer that I didn't get the cash, but despite this, the story was good enough to share with others. Neither of my girls are very interested in "mom's running stuff" so, to be honest, I was surprised to hear that she mentioned it at all. After hearing about it, Grace's teachers asked me to come do a presentation to the class about running. Before I said yes, I asked Grace how she felt about my coming in....you never know with her. She said yes, she did want me to come in as long as she got to stand up front with me, wear the medals and call on her friends who had questions. Translation - you do the talking, I get the attention. It's a win-win scenario. So, this morning I went in and attempted to make running and racing sound exciting to a group of 6 year olds. It was as tricky as it sounds. I brought in anything that seemed remotely interesting - a bib number, my Oiselle singlet, a few different pairs of sneakers, my GPS watch, some GU (that was a huge hit), a couple pics, and a variety of medals. I talked about all the different types of races, all the various kinds of people who do them and tried to hone in on the fact that I run, not because I want to win every race but because it keeps me healthy and it's fun to do. I'm not sure what, if any of it, sunk in, but it was a great diversion for all of us. I did get some questions and statements from the kids throughout the presentation that are worth sharing (my responses are in orange). You gotta love kids.
I should note that I had been talking for maybe 30 seconds when the first hand went up....
~ "This morning I could not stop running. I was going back and forth. Back and forth." I know exactly how that feels!
~ "My dad ran a marathon. He's 45 years old". That's so cool! I am 38. Running is great because you can do it no matter how old you are.
~ "My mom is one year older than you are." Big smile. That was it.
~ "My parents manage a marathon in Idaho where they are from. They don't run, but they help. There is also a race in NY called the Big Apple Race, but it's with horses." That is so awesome that they help out. There are so many ways people can get involved with running. And, yes, both humans AND animals can run races.
~ (from the first kid) "I think my shoes are the same brand as yours." Oh yeah, you're right! We are both wearing Sauconys. "And I can probably run as fast as you or maybe faster." (I didn't doubt this as he looked like he was ready to go outside that minute and race).
~ "How long is a marathon?" It's about 26 miles. So, it's like running to Boston and back from school. "Why would anyone do that?" Well, a lot of us who run think it's fun. "But why?" (I could see where this was going).
~ "My grandparents took me to watch a marathon and let me ring a cowbell and eat candy the whole time." Grace and I both smiled, but for different reasons. Mine, because I know how hard it is to entertain kids who are standing around doing nothing for 4 hours. And Grace's, because she was thrilled to tell her class that her mom has a cowbell collection from all her races. This is not the least bit dorky to a group of 6 year olds.
~ "My dad wears that same kind of watch. Sometimes he gets mad at it." Well, that might seem a little strange, but sometimes we wish we were running faster than the watch says we are running, so we might get a little frustrated with the watch. (Blank stare back at me on this one)
~ "I have run 2 miles with my dad". That's awesome! My older daughter, Rosie, and I sometimes run together, too. "My dad and I would beat you and Rosie." Ok, moving on...
The way I look at, two great things came out this presentation. First, Grace felt like a rock star for an hour and my being a runner had something to do with that. Second, I'm guessing at least 1 of those 20 kids is going to be a runner, and maybe, even if they don't realize it now, this small peek into the world of running will have had something to do with that. And that's pretty cool.
Listen to this:
What You Need - Galactic & Lyrics Born