Today was a great day outside. The chilly temps loosened their grip for a moment and let us have a nice spring weekend with temps in the high sixties and early seventies.
When nap time ended, I mentioned to Zj that we were going to the trail. She was immediately excited and started running around the room asking to put on her ‘running’ shirt. “The green one Mum Mum. Up there, up there”, pointing to the hanging shirt in the closet. She was referring to the shirt they gave her last spring when she participated in her first ever race. I have heard that pictures can say a thousand words and that has never been more true than with this pic.
Let me back up a bit to give you some context. A few weeks prior to this pic I had been looking for a race in which I could push Zj in the running stroller while I ran. I found the Beltline Race Series and their Northside 5K and decided this would be the race. After reading a bit further I noticed that they also offered Youth Fun Run 1K. Being new to running and racing this was the first time I had noticed a race for children.
loves to run. She has been on the trails since she was born. Now that she was bigger, sometimes towards the end of our runs we would let her down, from the stroller, and run next to us to the end. She would love to be in a race. I got the A Zj OK from her Father, who also was surprised as I was to learn of races for small kids. (Clearly we were new to the kiddy scene.) When I told her, about the race, her reaction was just as I suspected. She was ecstatic! ,
So it was all set, both of us would be running races that morning. As registration day drew closer I was feeling nervous about not finishing the 5K in time for the start of Zj’s race. The registration location was a very popular running store across town. It was a Friday evening and very busy with lots of people picking up their race bibs and registering for multiple races.
stood proudly in line waiting to sign up. At the registration desk, I opted to only register Zj for the sake of my nerves. I should have caught a hint from all the wows and looks of surprise from everyone in the store when the race registrar asked her birthday. “_______”, I say. A look of confusion. “So... Zj old is she?” "Two", I said. how
When I get excited and can't sleep.
was equally excited, asking as many questions about her race as her two year old self could muster. Aunt Gina called and wanted to know what were the colors for #teamZj. Ok Mommy, I thought, let me pull something together to make this memorable. I called our family in DC and Bermuda to tell them Zj was racing in the morning. Grandparents, great grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and Godparents all sent their best wishes and encouraged Zj to do her best. She was pumped. Aunt Gina, Mommy and Daddy, when he got off from work, we're going to be the cheer squad for #teamZj. I fished around in her Zj’s closet and concocted an awesome run outfit that any runner would be proud to wear. All of us decided to wear the color scheme of purple/pink and black in support of our racer. I laid out her clothes and gear just like I do my own before a race and we all went to bed. Zj slept. Mommy sat up. Zj
As the race official said, "On Your Mark..." Zj was saying hi and waving to the kids standing next to her.
The race was @ 8:30am across town. I woke Zj up at 6:30. We had the breakfast of champions: oatmeal, fruit and juice. She wore her three quarter length black leggings under purple jogging shorts, a black race shirt under a black sweatshirt with a silver shimmer heart and her black and purple champions sneaks. A black headband adorned her fro, and my old sports watch. When she looked in the mirror, she
sing , "ooo ooo" and shook her hips. Translation, "I look good!" songed
Aunt Gina arrived and we were off to the races.
We arrived at the beautiful Tanyard Creek Park. People were swarming everywhere. This race was far bigger than I could have imagined. Parking was impossible. Finally, we spotted a space and I dashed to get into it before anyone could steal it. We could hear the announcer, but we could not see the race area. Anxiety was now if full effect as we raced through the trees and across the playground to find check-in. We arrived just as the first of the 5K runners were crossing the finish line. I was right not to enter. It was now 15 minutes to Zj’s start time. I couldn't have run the 5K in that short space of time.
As the race official said, "On your mark" Zj was saying hi and waving to the kids standing next to her.
because she had some friends. "Get set..." A little boy took off in a false start and a few kids started to run as well. As the kids returned to the starting line Zj looked at me with big questioning eyes. The announcer started again and the gun went off. Everyone took off running. Everyone but Zj. “Run Zj run”, I shouted, trying to get her to run. Off she went with me running next to her. “They could have cut the grass”, I thought as Zj tried to run through the grass that higher than her knees. A few yards in, the little boy who had a false start had stopped. He was crying really hard. Me knowing Zj thought, “oh no, she's going to stop”, which she did. “ Geeking , crying’, she said as she looked at me and tried to comfort the little boy. I asked the little boy if he was ok which clearly he wasn't because he was crying uncontrollably. Just then his Dad came over. I told Zj he was going to be ok and after she was convinced I was able to get her to run again. Up over the hill (which I had to push her over) and onto the paved trail. Thank goodness! Mum Mum
On the Straight
The older kids are completely out of sight. I hear cheers on the other side so I assume the first kid has crossed the finish line. “Run Zj!” Arms pumping. Daddy runs next to her filming with his iPhone. All of a sudden I hear, “Sssswwwwinnnnnnngsssss Mommy!!!!!!!!!!!” Before we could get to her, she runs off the race path and onto the playground and up to the swings. “Up, up Mommy!” “No Zj we are in a race. We have to run.” “Nooooo swing?” I sway her, as I pick her up and head back to the race, by promising to play swings after the race.
As we approach the rickety bridge, that even I'm afraid to cross, we hear them announcing her name over the loudspeaker. “Run Zj you can do it!” I say to Isaac, “You have to pick her up she won't cross”. He picks her up and dashes over the bridge and places her down on the other side. The announcer calls out over the microphone to her again, “Run Zj!” Zj asks, "They call me Mum Mum?"
To The Finish
Aunt Gina’s Account
I recognized Daddy from afar,
see her small frame in the distance. I started jumping and screaming out her name--with my animated and easily excitable self. The announcer asked clarification and proceeded to call her name in encouragement. The encouragement caught momentum and all those at the finish line joined their voices, especially when they realized that this barely could I -biddy person is running towards the wee , moving her arms like a skilled runner, while smiling and enjoying the run. Auntie was so caught up, trying to scream and take pictures… lol those two actions don’t go together so well. finish
We are close to the finish line now and Daddy drops back, then I drop back and
crosses the line holding the race organizers hand. Everyone was cheering. She did it! Zj
We take pictures and they come to escort Zj over to the tee shirt table to pick a shirt. The organizer
the green put on her and all Zj could say was, “For me Mum Mum? For me?” She repeated it over and over. Standing all around her and offering congratulations were adults in green tees. She was one of them. “Like the big ones”, she said. The look of pride on her face was priceless. tee
I was glad and relieved that all went well. We took many more pics than Daddy had to go. As we walked back to the car we came across the swings and she took off running again. She played until she couldn't play anymore than we took a stroll around Tanyard Park. Before the car even pulled away from the curb she was asleep.
The race clothes stayed on for two days. Every time I attempted to remove them, I was met with cries of, “My race shirt, my race shirt
, Mum Mum !” Eventually I was able to remove the sweat and race shirts but had to put the green race shirt back on. nooooo
This was a very proud day not only for Zj, but for our entire village of family and friends. Daddy got to see his daughter on a larger scale. He congratulated me for giving her a healthy start and providing her with exposure. He said he was proud of me. I blushed.
was super proud of her efforts and learnt how to persevere. I was proud on so many levels, but mostly because it was good knowing that some of my efforts in trying to model a healthy lifestyle for her are paying off. Zj
So as Z points to her green race tee shirt hanging in the closet all these memories come flooding back to me and I have to smile. I will never forget the look of wonder and pride on her face that day.
Coincidentally, As I prepare to publish this post I received an email announcing Beltline Northside 5K and 1K Youth Fun Run registration is now open. Should we run it again?
This post was also shared on the #WOW Link Up
Wellness Wednesday, Mom Blog Party Fitness Friday, Small Victories Sunday Link Up Mommy Monday Blog Hop ,
This post was also shared on the #WOW Link Up
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