I think I’m succeeding in raising a little runner!! Although that has never been my goal, I’ve always tried to instill in my girls the notion that exercise is an essential part of our everyday lives. My eight year old “ran” her first 5k with me when I was seven months pregnant, and I’ve been running with her ever since. When she was a toddler, I would make the poor thing wait at least three miles, passing the playground at our favorite park once every mile, before I would let her out of the jogging stroller to play. Oh the torture. But thankfully it all paid off! At age 2, she started asking if she could run with me, which was just the cutest thing ever. Over the years, the short distances gradually became longer until she could run a mile without stopping. One of my proudest moments was when she participated in her first kids’ race at age 5 at the annual CT Breast Health Initiative Race in the Park, http://ctbhi.org/, at the same park where our running adventures began. This Sunday, she’ll be running in her first timed mile race and she (and her mama) couldn’t be more excited.
This all came about quite naturally. I never asked her to run or implied in any way that I expected her to do what I do. She does it, I believe, because it was a normal part of her life. Just as I took note of my parents going for walks most evenings, my daughter noticed, and was oftentimes a part of, my daily exercise routine. That kids typically emulate their parents for the good or the bad is no newsflash. But to see your own children mimic your behaviors really hammers that fact of life home. (Note to self: Drink less wine in front of the children.) I give thanks that my daughter sees my decision to stay active as a behavior she wishes to incorporate into her own life.
Even more than running, my daughter loves to ride her bike, swim and play soccer. While she might tell you that she loves television more than all of the above, I am confident that her zest for all things active will carry forward with her into adulthood. In the meantime, I’ll keep running races and riding bikes with her as long as she’ll have me by her side (and as long as I can keep up). And although it’s coming sooner than I might be ready for, I honestly cannot wait for the first time she smokes me in a race.