This spring, I did my third half-marathon. My second one was three years ago, and the first one was about six years prior to that. Like some people do when having children, I decided to spread out the pain. Truth be told, it was about having time to train.
Now that my children are a little bit older and more self-sufficient, I was actually able to train sufficiently. At the ripe age of mid-forty-something I achieved my best time ever, but in the process I also achieved something else that I didn't fully understand until it was all over - my daughters' respect.
"Go Mommy," I heard a little voice yell as I entered mile eleven. My husband had driven my daughters and a friend to meet me and my running partner at the finish line. They were stuck in traffic, but miraculously hit it just right so they could see us go by. I looked back and saw little hands waving wildly out of the windows of my husband's SUV. I was so excited that they got a chance to see the hundreds of runners, many of them women and mothers, pass the car as they waited to turn at the light.
As we neared the finish line, I heard tandem screams of "Mommy" coming from the sidelines. My husband had jumped a median and cut through a few parking lots to make sure he got them there in time for the finish. As soon as I crossed the line even before I could catch my breath, they were on me, their arms around my sweaty waist congratulating me.
"You smell, Mommy," my little one said pulling away as she crinkled her nose and grimaced.
"That's because I ran thirteen miles, Honey. It's sweat," I said kissing her forehead, making sure not to get any residual sweat on her skin.
In recent weeks, my little one ran a 5K with her dad. My oldest daughter asked me if I would buy her "real running shoes." I can't say for sure if they will turn out to be runners or not, but hopefully they will know they can do anything they want to do. In the words of Nike, "Just do it."
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including two on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.