The first time I did Run to the Shrine, I was good and pregnant. Last year, the hill completely defeated me (to my dismay). This year, instead of being about me doing anything, I made it about doing something with my daughter.
Recently, I have been working on running with my daughter. She’s now 5 so we have been practicing the 5K distance. She has completed some with some success (and some with less than success). She seems to be learning and improving, and I am also learning to be patient and adjust my expectations. I think it has been good for both of us.
I decided to take her with me to Run to the Shrine because it is conducted at our local zoo, which is one of our favorite places. However, her father pointed out that expecting a 5 year-old to walk 2 miles up a mountain then back and then behave at the zoo all day was unreasonable. I could not deny his logic, so we compromised. I wore my daughter on my back for 1.5 miles up; then she walked the last .5 mile up and 1 mile down.
On a normal day, this would have been a brilliant plan. However, the unpredictable Colorado springtime decided to lob some frigid foggy weather our way instead. It was cold, really quite cold, especially when a icy mountain breeze would start tickling the route.
My daughter did great on my back. I believe she might have fallen asleep on my shoulder if I let her. I also finally felt the fruits of all my work. Walking up a mountain, wearing a 30 pound child felt like nothing. I wasn’t fatigued; I wasn’t winded. It felt easy, which, in itself, was amazing. It is nice to see the results of all my self-torture occasionally.
When I put my daughter down to complete her half of the race, things did not go as simply. Mostly, she was cold. Even in her coat plus my coat plus my attempts to get her to jog to warm up, she was just very cold. She held it together well. She contained her whining and crying and pushed through (yes, it is because I bribed her but still). We walked the majority of the way until her father came back for her. He has the talent to always convince her to keep going while thinking it’s a game.
I loved watching them run together. I loved watching him motivate her in ways I couldn’t. He has a talent to be able to make our children forget the hard parts. But she finished her mile and half. She ran across the finish line, and I was very proud of her.
Unfortunately, it was too cold to enjoy the zoo afterward. However, everyone seemed happy enough to sip hot chocolate instead. End to end, it was an enjoyable race experience. Maybe next time there will be sun.
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