"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Striving to compete: to be a role model for my girls & boy

As my kids get older, I realize more and more how they are watching me intently when I set goals and work hard to meet them.  I have daily goals (do 5 loads of laundry today, go to the supermarket), but I want them to see me striving for more lofty goals.  Recently, I made the decision to peruse a senior position at a new organization.  I went through a long interview process, and I would debrief with the family all along.  At the end of the day, I negotiated it all to go my way, from start date to work-at-home expectations and from salary to job location.  I was proud of myself, so proud, and they were proud of me, too.

I am a mama runner, and all of my “brfs” (best running friends) know that I have a problem with commitment.  “Let’s run this marathon or that half!”  Registrations ensue and I remain silent on the matter.  

Running a race is a huge commitment of time and money.  Each race sucks at least $50, plus there is picking up race packets plus showing up on race-day early.  That is all time I just don’t have.  Then, there’s the actual training.  What if I don’t have the time to fit on that 12 mile run this weekend if the kids have tournaments, events, practices, birthday parties or other commitments? 

When I won an opportunity to run the Mermaid Run the Saturday over Mother’s Day Weekend, I said, “Why the heck not?”  It happened to be convenient (a 20-minute drive from home), free, and the chance to spend one-on-one time with a friend.  As race day approached, I told the kids how nervous I was: “I don’t know if I am ready.”  I had a busy work week plus a full social calendar the days leading up to the race; I was “dehydrated” and a bit sleep deprived.

Considering how busy the week preceding and the weekend was, my friend texted the night before the race: “Are you sure you want to do it tomorrow?”  It was my chance to back out.  I said: “I’m sure.  I’ll pick you up at 6:30”, even though I actually didn’t really want to do it. 

Getting out at an all-women’s at 7am on a race day is exhilarating.  Still, I felt like I could’ve just as easily slept in.  Out on the road as I trudged along, my excitement was still pretty muted.  It was warm, I was tired, and I felt a headache coming on.  I tried to keep myself distracted, and I tried to keep my friend distracted too.  (I failed to mention: this was my friend’s first race after her third child, 4 months post-partum.)

The finish line was such a tease: I could see it in my line of sight for miles.  And, finally, when I could taste the finish line, I kicked it up into high gear and powered all the way through that chip-reader.  My friend chased me from behind saying: “You placed Number Three!”

“I won?  Really?  Like top few?”  She said, “Yes, you placed third.” 

It was the first time I had run a 10K.  It was the first time I placed for something individually.  I felt special; I felt strong; I felt capable.  Hanging around at the race expo for the next hour, just enjoying the sun and cheering every other runner coming in, felt like a day at the spa.  I had nowhere to be but right at that podium to collect my recognition.  When I came home, the kids had emptied the dishwasher and vacuumed, and I shared my stories of the morning.  They bounced up and down as I showed them my name on the chart, as I showed them the swag I received bearing the words “Second Place” (Second Place in my age group) and “Third Place” (Third Place overall).  I realized that I want this feeling for myself, and I also want this feeling to share with my kids.  I want them also to feel special, to feel strong, and to feel capable when they set goals for themselves and achieve them.

When I show the possibilities of accomplishment, I hope they too see how close they are to achieving the same.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.