Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Yesterday afternoon, my daughter, Grace, and I were walking our dog around the neighborhood.  Despite having been at camp all day, she was chock full of energy.  It may have had something to do with the fact that she was sporting new running kicks.  That and the fact that she's 9.  I, on the other hand, was struggling to keep my lids open having run a 19 miler that morning and then a bunch of errands after that.  As we walked, we had a funny conversation that I haven't stopped thinking about for a few days.  Here's how it unfolded:

Little G

Grace: Mom, let's have a race up the hill.
Me: I can't, Grace.  My legs are too tired.
Grace: Let's do it anyway.
Me: OK, ready win. (I threw my hands in the air as a sign of surrender)
Grace: Moooommmmm.  Come on.
Me: Sorry, G.  I ran 19 miles this morning.  I'm totally wiped.
Grace: Oh, yeah.  I forgot you had a long run today.  Why do you have to go that far again?
Me: Well, I'm training for a marathon and I need to get used to running for long periods of time so I can hopefully do better on race day.
Grace: But, aren't you basically running, like, a marathon, every week?
Me: Kind of.  Yeah.  But the more long runs I do, the more comfortable I become with the distance, so it all helps in the end.  
---> she looks up at me in confusion.
You know how you scrimmage at the end of almost every soccer practice?  Your team does that over and over each week so that on game day, you'll be ready to compete.  It's the same for me.  I do a bunch of trial runs so on race day I'm ready to go.
----> she nods in agreement.  I think.
Grace: Do you want to win your race?
Me: Well, sure, I'd love to win.  But, that's not why I race.  Really, I just want to improve on my time and enjoy myself, or at least try to.
----> long pause
Grace: Wait, Mom, when you're running your marathon and you get tired, do you stop and do this?

Me: Ummm. Yeah.  Sometimes.  (now I'm confused)
Grace: Don't do that anymore.  For your next race, instead of putting your hands on your knees to rest, you should put your arms behind your head like this.  Just look straight ahead.  Don't let the people next to you see that you're tired.

Me: Oh, yeah?  I should try and outsmart my competition, eh?
Grace: Definitely.  Even if you need a break, don't stop or look down.  You can even pretend to tie your shoe, but never lean on your knees and try not to breath too heavily.  Because then you'll give it all away.  
Me: Ok, good advice.  I'll remember that for next time.  Thanks, Grace.
Grace: You're welcome.  How many more do you think you'll do?
Me: Marathons?  Oh, I don't know.  I haven't really decided.
Grace:  Because it seems like you might get too tired to keep going at some point.  Right?
Me: Some day, yes, that will happen. But, hopefully not for a while.
Grace: Don't worry, Mom.  I'll keep coming up with ideas to help you out.
Me: Cool, Grace.  I appreciate that.  You're kind of like my secret weapon.
Grace: (smiling)  Totally!  Want to go check the pool drain for chipmunks?

And, that was it.  Kids are funny.  They often say what's on their mind and it doesn't always make sense but when you stop and think about it there is a message in there.  Here's my own interpretation of Grace's ramblings:

You run a lot.  I don't really get it.  But that's okay.  If you're going to keep at it, you should put some thought into how you're going to be successful.  At some point you're going to get too old for it.  But, don't stress too much because there are lots of things you can do to keep going.  Plus, you can always ask for help.  Oh, and this subject is kind of boring, so I've already moved on and you should, too.

So we did.  To rainbow unicorns.  MUCH more fun.

Listen to this:
We'll Never Be Alone - Believe in Giants (feat. Lucy Rose)

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