Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lacking in Killer Instinct

On Saturday morning I got up at the crack of doom to take Laura to her running club's 5k race. This was her second race, I blogged about the first last fall. I love that she's involved in this and I want to encourage it every step of the way. Thus, the crack of doom. Cheerful. Bone tired but coffee-brewing. My stalwart mom came with us. (The rest of the family has been working so hard around here, and I'm really feeling very good, so I gave them the morning off.)

The race course was laid out to start and end at a big outdoor mall. It was a fundraiser for ALS, so there were a ton of people running, not just the little girls. She found a friend to run with. There was loud music, the snacks were free, and they got their hair fixed and spray painted at the Goody hair products tent. You know, important prep stuff. Then they lined up, and at 8:00 sharp the race began and about a thousand people pounded by us.

Laura had finished her first race, last November, in 36 minutes, and I figured that she'd gotten stronger and faster in six months. We found a spot near the finish line, and I told Mom that I was going to start looking for her at about thirty minutes.

The winner came in at just under 17 minutes. Wow, fast miles. Then the first little girl came in at 25 minutes. Go honey! Then a bunch more little girls, running hard. Also some dudes who had just been beaten by little girls.

Thirty minutes rolled around. I started to look up at the crest of the hill, waiting for Laura to appear. I thought I'd recognize her by her light blue shorts. We waited.

At 35 minutes, I said, "She needs to hurry if she's going to beat her old time." But no Laura. Between 36 and 40 minutes I thought, "Well, you know, maybe she's having an off day. It's not like I'm a runner, what do I know?" Still no Laura.

At this point, the people who were crossing the finish line were not the most athletic. They were definitely the ones who'd lined up in the "run/walk" part of the pack. When 45 minutes had gone by, Mom and I started to really wonder where she was. I knew I could have walked that course in that time, and Laura had left jogging. We worried that maybe she had gotten sick somewhere out of sight of us?

Then, at 46 minutes, there she was, loping over the hill, still with her friend. We waved in relief, and called out to her and cheered her, albeit slightly less wildly than we might have at 30 minutes.

But still, I'm a supportive, process-oriented, non results-stressing parent, right? So I was all, "Heeeeyyyy, great run! How was it? Yay!" She seemed happy and nonchalant, and went around to collect her T-shirt and goody bag. Okay, I figured, who knows, maybe she didn't feel great and walked a lot.

On the way back to the car, Mom pointed to the opposite side of the shopping center and asked, "So Laura, did you guys run behind the movie theater or in front of it?"

Laura said, "Well, we ran in front of it, but there was a big screen in the window showing a movie about How to Train Your Dragon, so we sat down and watched it for a few minutes."

Yes. They stopped in the middle of the race. Sat down on the sidewalk. Watched a movie.

Um, what? I said, "You stopped in the middle of the race? For how long?"

She said, "About ten minutes maybe. And Mom, it's not really a race, it's a run."

Oh.

Do you see how she reframed the entire event there? Like I was harshing her mellow with my competitive pressure. I had no response to this. Or in the moment I thought it was funny. And then later I thought about how the next time I get up at the butt ass crack of dawn to take her to a 5k, I want her to do her absolute best. Or she can sit down on the sidewalk outside our house, and I can sleep until a decent hour.

This is a conversation that needs to happen when I figure out how to broach the subject again. But it is funny to me too. Like, I never thought of needing to tell her not to stop in the middle. And it is so Laura, somehow.

18 comments:

Mad Woman said...

I love that she stopped to watch a movie. Classic! Though, I'd be ticked about having gotten up early to have her do that too.

The Dental Maven said...

Wow. They stopped to watch a movie? Now, I could understand if there was a really good sale going on, in say, a shoe store...but a movie? Odd...

Jenni said...

That is so awesome.

Maggie said...

I love this story. It is so great. She is such a confident, strong, wonderful child.

Michele R said...

That is too funny. And you are so calm!
Last year we were at a 2 mile race with the boys and there is a very competitive mom there that we know, with her very athletic son. Same story—she kept looking for him at the end. The race was for 7 to 12 year olds and he was 11.5 yrs old. He arrives at the end, walking along with a friend, deep in with the chatting. She was not amused since this was 20 miles from home at 7:30 a.m. She told him and everyone that she did not get up early (plus it was a $25 fee) for him to walk a race and chat with a friend. I think he had done this same race for years so he was pretty much over it.

Kori said...

I guess I am way too mellow because that wouldn't bother me at all, no matter how early I had to get up-because it wouldn't be about me. I used to complain like mad for the first week of my two teens having to be at the school at 6:45 for Driver's Ed, until I remembered that it really wasn't about me, but about them. Pretty hard to do as parents sometimes, though.

Sara said...

That deserves a "lmao."

I was just laughing to Mark last night about how Aggie and her friend are so alike in their obliviousness right now. It takes them *forever* to do *anything*! And if you mention that to them, they are ....well, oblivious.

gretchen said...

I'm always impressed by what a smart girl Laura is, how she always looks at things in a logical, thoughtful way. She knew perfectly well that this was a "run" not a "race". Had it been a "race", she would have approached it in a differently way. I think she's just great.

Cassie said...

That is the most awesome thing I've ever heard. Ever.

Amy Whitley said...

That is funny! My competitive side would have been freaking out at the thought, but she reminds us to chill!

The Stiletto Mom said...

I think that is adorable! Also, had no idea they had races like that for kids...though I'm not sure mine wouldn't stop and do the same thing given the chance. The break of doom early wake up calls are the best aren't they?

Michele said...

The minute you said they had to run in front of the shopping center I figure they had done a little shopping. I was preparing to love Laura even more than I do already if she had stopped to do a little shopping. It's what I would have done. Well, if I ever enter a run. Which will never happen.

Keely said...

Okay, that's just awesome. I guess she's only competing with herself...if her Self wanted to watch a movie for a bit, heck, why not?!

Effie said...

Kids always have a way of teaching us life lessons. It's called living in the moment, and it's a beautiful thing. Something we often forget how to do as adults. Excellent story...thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

sorry but i'd kill my daughter if she did that--i have led girls on the run for 3 years now but we never have never run by a movie theater so I can't for sure say whether or not any of my girls would have stopped . . .

Elle said...

I can not figure out how the movie theater could be constructed so that they could stop & watch a movie, but that is some exxxcellent super-sleuthing on yr mom's part!

I think this might rub up against my favorite what kind of animal? rhetoric. It isn't quite in the station, though. Metaphor-mixing! xo

Crystal said...

Laughing wwaaaayy out loud! Mainly at the butt ass crack of dawn sentence. You is one funny lady.

Ginny Marie said...

A run is definitely different from a race. Definitely!