I love this picture. I took it of my youngest daughter, Lola, as she watched her older sister compete in a school track meet.
She was complaining of being too hot and went to the car to see what she could find. Forgetting, I had hidden these very special hand-me-down tutus for her from a dear friend in the trunk, I said, “sure go ahead and see what you can find.” As she dug through the trunk..her eyes darted straight to the bag of tutus the same time as mine. Before I could distract her…she said, “what are these?!” with her eyes as big as saucers. Darn, I thought, the surprise was now ruined. Or was it? Without hesitiation, she ripped off her other clothes and jumped right into this pink tutu with sequins and all. I had to go with it. I figured if she was confident enough to walk around a track meet in just her tutu and running shoes, then far be it for me to list my reasons why she may not want to wear that….“are you sure honey, might get kinda of itchy in the heat?” “do, you really want to wear that…now?” Of course she did! So, off she went watching the rest of the meet in her new comforatble and cool clothes. As you can imagine, when my teenage daughter saw her sister in all of her glory watching from the fence…she rolled her eyes and ran the other way....teenagers, what do they know?
As I looked at the picture, I realized my planned surprise was not ruined at all. It became a gift. A gift to to see my confident and strong-minded daughter in action with not a care in the world, especially about what other people think. I also get to see myself..growing up as a dancer and now a runner and the huge impact they have had on who I am today. Other than my family, my tutus and running shoes have been the most important things in my life. Thank you Lola for showing me the way and reminding me about what’s really important. That is the best gift of all.
I figured when writing my first post on a health blog, it was important to tell how I became a runner…accidentally. I grew up as a dancer. We were never allowed to run for exercise because it “shortened our muscles” said our dancing teacher. ( We were also not allowed to get suntan lines, miss a class, complain, or eat….that’s a whole separate issue) So, being a good student, I never ran and frankly, it felt like torture when I had to run in PE class. I could dance forever, and often did, but run 4 laps around the track…forget it!!
Fast forward to my young adult life…I had transitioned from being a dancer to aerobic instructor. ( It was the 80’s after all) I loved teaching aerobics, it enabled me to be a “dancer” and get some exercise teaching others at the same time. Plus it helped me earn some spending money in college. My mom had just started “jogging” and asked if I would join her in a big race called Bay to Breakers. I said sure but I was NOT running. Could we walk the entire 7.5 miles? She said sure and promised I didn’t have to run. Off we went to San Francisco to walk this famous running event. There we stood at the starting line amongst real runners looking all too serious. I say one more time, ” we are just walking, right?” “Yes,” she assures me. The gun goes off and we are on our way for an enjoyable 7.5 mile walk through the city by the bay.
Ha! That “walk” lasted less than a mile. The crowd was so thick, that we were getting pushed along by the running crowd. “This will thin and slow down any minute,” I tell myself. 3, 4, 5 miles go by and I am still running. I can’t believe it. And I was kind of liking it. Weird?! I pass the 7 mile mark, digging deep. I can see the finish line…luckily, it’s all down hill and the crowd is cheering loudly. My mom and I cross the finish line together. We had finished our first race and had RUN 7.5 miles! I couldn’t believe it but I loved it! That was the day, 25 years ago, that I became an “accidental runner.”
I don’t suggest every new runner start with a 7.5 mile run. No new runner, ever should begin with too much too soon. Consider your current fitness level and begin from there. Maybe it’s 30 seconds of running mixed into some walking or 30 minutes of running if you are more active. Start slow, don’t rush it and enjoy the process. You never know….you too may become an “accidental runner.”