My Most Important Run of the Year

My Most Important Run of the Year

If I had to think about my most important run of the year it would not be my last marathon or even my big race tomorrow- The Fast Firecracker… I would honestly say it is the run I get to do with my daughter on her birthday.  Sure, we run together a few times during the year but there is something special about being the first one to see the birthday girl in the morning and spending the first part of her day with her.  Just the two of us working on a goal together.  

This was the second year she wanted to run her birthday year in miles.  We started this tradition when she turned nine.  (Up until that point she had run one 10K and figured what was 3 more miles?)  I wasn’t sure if she would want to do this again but a few weeks ago she mentioned wanting to run 10 miles on her 10th birthday.

Her training:  She is not following any specific training plan.  She’s a kid!  She is active and loves most sports.  Most of her “training” came from her participation in to 100 Mile club at her school the past two years.  (Great program, by the way!)  She runs in many of the local 5k’s and has done a total of three 10k’s in her life.  She finished her last one in around 54 minutes.

The good thing about her birthday being at the beginning of July is that we don’t have to worry about it ever being on a school day.  The bad thing- hello HEAT! We intended to leave earlier but by the time we were at the trail and running it was just after 7 am.  I carried a water bottle so she could stop for water at any time.  I planned a very simple route.  It’s actually my go-to 10 miler because it’s 5 miles out to Harp’s and 5 miles back.  Harp’s has a water fountain and I knew we could refill our bottle there.  I also had some shot bloks if she needed some fuel.
around mile 3.5
mile 3.5
I texted John this pic of the halfway point- we made it to Harp’s!

The run back home was tough.  She was tired and it was hot.  I poured water on her and we stopped for her to drink water several times.  I asked her if she just wanted me to call John to get us but she said no.  She wanted to finish.

Last year I told her a memory I had of her at each age that corresponded to the mile we were on.  She looked forward to it every mile and when we would get to a mile she would remind me.  We did this again this year and I think this is her favorite part of the run.  But it was hard.
mile 7

I would say running 10 miles as a 10 year old is probably the adult equivalent to running a marathon.  She “hit the wall” at mile 8.6 and we stopped a few minutes for another break.  I texted John to let him know how it was going.  She was determined to finish her 10 miles no matter how long it took.

mile 8.6

I told her that she was strong and she could do it.  I told her that this would probably be the hardest thing she would do the whole year that she was 10.  I don’t know if this is true.  Obviously I don’t know what will happen to her or anyone in our family this next year.  I guess I would like to think that overcoming one challenge makes a person stronger so they are ready when the next one comes their way.  During the next year I want her to remember that she was able to overcome something that was really hard and if she could do that then she could do anything.  We only listened to one song during the run and it was when we started back up after 8.6.  I have all kinds of music on my running playlist and this is a good one.  The words really fit with what I knew Abi needed to hear.

Overcomer by Mandisa
I also told her another one of my favorite movie quotes.
yes, that’s right- Tom Hanks in A League of their Own

Right around 9.5 I saw a little kid off in the distance.  Then another.  Then I recognized the group ahead in the distance.  It was John and the younger three.  He had brought the kids out to the last quarter mile of the trail to cheer Abi on to the finish.   We had no idea they were planning to do this but it was just the motivation she needed to finish strong.

John snapped this one of us as we finished

She did it!

10 miles with my 10 year-old!
Afterwards we took her (and the rest of the kids) to get a late big breakfast.  She was pretty exhausted and needed more to drink.  A few hours later she had her own personal leg massage.  My sponsor at Massage Me knew Abi was planning this run so she wanted to give her a little birthday treat.  Abi was thrilled!

This little run was a very memorable part of her 10th birthday.  While we were running I was definitely thinking about where I was ten years ago.  I was laying in a hospital bed, with over half my body still paralyzed on the epidural following the c-section.  But none of that mattered because I was holding my precious new born baby girl. 

July 1, 2004

Being a parent these past ten years has not been easy.  In fact, it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  I’ve learned so much and I can only imagine what’s in store the next decade.  (In 3 years I’ll have a teenager?!!)  But there is SO MUCH joy and love found in many moments of parenting.  It is hard but SO worth it! 

4 completely different personalities

Coming up next:

The Fast Firecracker- TOMORROW!!I just hope that my foot gives me one more race.  Then I’m taking a few weeks break to hopefully heal this plantar fasciitis!
Anyone else racing on the 4th?

35 thoughts on “My Most Important Run of the Year

  1. When I saw you post this on Facebook my jaw dropped. Just incredible. I didn’t run 10 miles until 4 years ago! I’m just in awe of her tenacity. Of course, I think I may have an idea of where she gets it from! Good luck tomorrow.

  2. That was an absolutely awesome read! I wish I’d have gotten my kids into running when they were young, God has given me another chance though, and I don’t plan to miss it with my granddaughter. Yay Abi! Happy Birthday!

  3. I too got emotional reading this post! How memorable, and what a strong girl you are raising! I hope my daughter gets into running with me, although unlike you and yours, mine will probably have to come back and find me at finishes! 🙂 Happy 10th Birthday to your Abi.

    Would you consider doing a post on getting kids into running? How do you encourage it without pushing it? How do you know what they can and can’t handle, and what is safe for them to run? Thanks for considering it! 🙂

    1. Thanks Katie! Great idea! I did a post about kids and racing a while back but you bring up several good points about kids and running in general. Being encouraging without pushing/ knowing what they can handle, etc. are all things you will face. So much depends on your child. My oldest runs and does things that I honestly can’t see my others doing at her age. I will start working on a post like this. Thanks!

  4. What a great kid! What little girl wants to do a run for her birthday? Just a tough one, for sure! She really impresses me! Double digits for a ten year old is hard stuff!

  5. I loved this post. Even more than the PR race posts because what you’re doing with all of your kids is just so special. Building amazing memories. Showing her just how strong and resilient she can be. Teaching them how important it is to support each other – cause family is the best support you’ll ever have.

    1. Thanks Char! It’s hard sometimes to know whether to push, encourage, help, etc. when she was tired at mi 5 and then again at 8.6 I offered to call my husband but I knew she could do it and I knew she would want to as well. Yes, we definitely need to support each other and make sure out kids know we support them!

  6. She’s a serious go-getter!! Just like her mama 😉
    I especially liked reading about how you were able to encourage Abbi as she hit the hard parts. It takes a special desire to do something so BIG. Also, how fantastic of John to bring the kids out to cheer. A true team you have there!
    Looking forward to the 11 mile post, but something tells me she might jump up to a half marathon before the 11th birthday 🙂

    1. Thanks Raina!! Funny you mention that! She asked about a half but w are definitely waiting and just adding one mile a year. Call me crazy- I know I am!! – but I looked up July 2017, when she’s 13 and it is on a Saturday so we will be finding a half marathon somewhere to do that day for her first half. : )

  7. I love this, I actually teared up when you saw that your husband and kids came out to finish with her! She is so awesome and you are clearly such an inspiration! Congratulations and happy birthday to your daughter!!! My husband and I became first-time parents this year and have two boys….parenthood is so hard. We comment on it daily! The other day we talked about how having the boys is one thing and they are such a joy and so much fun, but adjusting to parenthood is something separate that has been challenging at times….but, like you said, SO worth it! Good luck today! And I love the face of your little boy in the picture above 🙂

    1. Wow! Thanks for the sweet comments! Congrats in your new additions this year! My youngest son is a mess- he adds a lot of spunk and life to the mix for sure!

    1. Funny you mention it. Since I opted not to go and the results hadn’t been posted last time I checked, I had to get the report from him when he got home. When he was finished telling me about his own run, I resisted the urge to ask, “How did Tia do?” Seems I’ve gotten quite attached to knowing your results when you run and he run in the same event! 🙂

    2. I haven’t. I may have to give it a try next year. I’m still working through some health problems this year – plus we’re not budgeting for me to do a lot of races this year, especially out-of-town races unless they’re Grand Prix and we need me to finish out a team. Next year should be better, healthwise and budgetwise. 🙂

  8. This post brought tears to my eyes! As one who has never had a strong relationship with her mother, this is especially exceptional to me; for you to share your passion for running with Abi is such a beautiful gift. She obviously has the mental strength and toughness that she has watched you model and I have a feeling we will be seeing amazing things from this little runner. You are a fantastic role model for your kiddos and for all of us! Hope y’all enjoyed the Firecracker yesterday!

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I did! I loved your race report too. I had no idea there was so much fun going on AFTER the race! Next year.. 🙂

  9. Hi Tia! this is the first time commenting on your page, but I just wanted to say how sweet and exciting it is to have your daughter enjoy running as much as you do. Being a runner myself and a new mommy since May I now understand the hardship of trying to raise a baby…but you have 4!!! you are an amazing mother and I can only hope to be like you when my babe grows. Happy late birthday to Abbi!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment! It may seem overwhelming at first (I know I was) but trust me- you will learn as you go! 🙂 I wish you the best. Congrats on your new addition!

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