Sunday, March 06, 2011

They make me so proud.



"I'm going to run the Telford Mile, mama." Jordan announced, several weeks ago.

"Me too!! I'm going to run too!!" Mina chimed in, predictably.

I looked at the two of them, chirping away like magpie twins at the kitchen counter top, and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

And then the forms started coming in from school. The Telford Electic Magic Mile is a yearly event here, held at the Bermuda National Sports Center. The profits from the event are used for children's charities. Kids run at the stadium or at the Bermuda Arboretum Park, depending on the age of the child.

I wasn't sure this was such a great idea, mainly because of Jordan's running history. He wasn't too keen on finishing the first and only race he was ever entered in back in Leonia, he quit the running club here in Bermuda because he thought it was too boring, and for the Telford Mile, he would be required to do two full laps at the stadium. For the uninitiated, that means a half mile.

But he insisted.

Later that week, I ran into the gym teacher at school. She also runs the running club. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but she was less than enthusiastic about Jordan running the race. "He has to run two laps, you know," she informed me, in that clipped accent of hers.

"Oh. Ok." I said.

"Two laps. You should think about that before you decide." She replied.

Personally, I was enraged. As a runner, I felt like my feet would fly off on the spot and like the god Mercury, scream through the air in sparks of fury in response to her cautionary words. I could feel the adrenaline scorching my veins.

But this wasn't my race.

"ok." I said. " We'll think about it."

So, I thought, "Let me take them to the stadium and let them SEE what a lap looks like. After school one day, that's exactly what I did. We drove up to Montpelier Drive, pulled our car up over the road, onto the grass (total illegal move, but a shortcut I've seen MANY people pull during the week when there are no events in session). we walked on to the track and I explained what each of them would be expected to do.

Naturally, they made a game of it, and started chasing each other around the track.

And that's all it took for me. I drove into town on the last day of registration, dropped their forms and money off at the local sports shoe store (because that's apparently what you do here), and $24 later - the kids were registered for the race.

Saturday rolled around, and the kids were off to a busy start. Both had a full morning of activities BEFORE the race. Ballet, cooking class. etc. Jeff and I hustled around between scooter and car, and got the kids to the track in time to pick up their race bibs.

Mina was first, in the four year old girls category.




She kills me. Look at this kid. This is what pure, unadulterated spirit looks like. Want to know what conquering fear looks like? Look at this child's face.



And she's tough too. We had to drop the kids off in a corral area. Some kids her age were crying and didn't want to be left alone. Some were crying at the prospect of running all by themselves. Some seemed scared at the overwhelming scene which this experience was. This wasn't some high school track. This was the National Stadium. It was HUGE! There were loudspeakers shouting announcements, there were crowds of people sitting in the stands; and it felt like pandemonium. Even as an adult, it felt overwhelming.



But my kids were cool as ice. Jordan waited in the stands for his age group to be called. He cheered for Mina and other friends he saw.



Finally, it was Jordan's turn.



Let's be honest. He came in dead last. But that's ok. He finished it. Two laps. A half mile. He ran the whole thing. He didn't stop and whine about how hard it was. He didn't complain or quit. He put one foot in front of the other and he ran the whole thing. There's a whole lot of adults out there who couldn't have done the same thing. Have you ever run a stadium lap? I have. Many times. It's dull as nails. You keep going and it feels like it's never going to end. And that's just one lap. He did two.

And in a nutshell, my kids epitomized what running can be about. One foot in front of the other. Conquer your fear. Finish it.



I was bursting with pride.



For both of them. They just kill me.



And then they ate cupcakes. Obviously.
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