We waited near the start like frozen icicles with rosy red cheeks and snow stuck to our eyelashes. My 3 year old girl had asked to do this fun run that preceded my husband running a 10k. We never thought that March 28th would bring us such treacherous conditions, but here we were, and here she was–not backing down. We’ve had experiences where she has wanted to do fun runs and backed down once it became real, but this time was different. She was excited all week, all morning, and during her wait for the start.
She quietly asked me to run with her as we listened to pre-race instructions. That was expected, especially since it was a quarter mile race. Only 3 other kids braved the conditions on that day–an 11 year old, 10 year old, and 5 year old. Chelsea wanted to win, but at the same time, would not let go of my hand–I love her combination of caution and determination.
Her favorite words were yelled into the mic Ready, set, go!
We started running together into the snow, our bodies warming up quickly as we raced to the turn-around in the distance. We made it there quickly, in the back of the pack, just behind the 5 year old girl. I quietly mentioned that maybe we could catch her.
We turned around at the cones and were hit with a blinding wall of icy cold wind and snow. She immediately asked to be picked up and with about 200 long meters to go, I obliged for a bit, but reminded her that she had to run across the finish line. I gave her a goal of starting to run again when we got to the parking lot, she didn’t answer me, but when I put her down she ran.
She ran across the finish line cold and tired. I gathered her up and told her how proud I was as I cuddled her close and headed inside.
Does she feel proud? Does she feel strong and empowered? Does she want to do this again?
Of course these are all unanswerable questions for a 3 year old, so I just wonder in my own head. Maybe I’m making too much of it–but maybe I’m not.
Next time we casually mention a fun run, I suppose we will have an answer.
Till then we will continue to play tag inside and do burpees during Simon Sez.
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