My son and me before the 4th Annual Kayla O'Mara Memorial Road Race in Goodrich, Michigan.
My son crossing the finish line of his first official road race.
My son and me after the race.
I think many people would agree that, as a parent, there is a little part of you that desires to have your offspring follow in your footsteps. I had the pleasure of experiencing this joy yesterday. My son is on his middle school's cross country team. Their first event of the preseason, and my son's first race ever, was the 4th Annual Kayla O'Mara Memorial Road Race in Goodrich, Michigan. I was given the opportunity to run the race with him, which I eagerly took. I have helped him make his way through many of his "firsts" so far and was excited to be able to be present for a "first" that is so dear to my heart - running.
I strongly believe that all children should be engaged in some type of physical activity, whether it is through a team sport or just riding their bikes for fun around the block. A child that participates in regular physical activity doesn't just develop fitness, but learns the value of such virtues as patience, perseverance, self-discipline, and resilience. My son became a step closer to understanding these concepts from participation in yesterday's race.
Although I ran the race with my son for moral support, I used this opportunity to teach him the strategy for running a race, of which the above virtues all play a role. It was my chance to "pass on the torch" to my son. The most important lesson that he learned from yesterday's race was perseverance. It was the longest distance he has run to date. He started the race apprehensive, but I coaxed him along giving him tips such as "lean into the hill as you run up" and "gravity is your friend running down hill, relax and let it bring you down, this is where you can get an advantage on time." His apprehension subsided but fatigue and muscular discomfort started to set in. He made comments such as "I can't do this, my feet hurt" and "I'm not running cross country again next year!". With these comments I was concerned that the light of the torch would be extinguished. I continued to encourage and reassure him.
In the midst of his misery I pointed out that we were not far from the finish line. As we entered the last leg of the race, and with the finish line in sight, my son got his second wind, "kicking it" in the last few yards to the end. He was handed a medal as he crossed the finish line. His negative thoughts about running were soon replaced with self-satisfaction. He did it and he was proud. So proud that he wanted to get a shadow box to display his medal and race number, and we did. So proud that there was talk about what he would do with medals from future races. Perseverance prevailed and the torch was passed.
Labels: Goodrich, Kayla O'Mara Memorial Road Race, Michigan