Most of us runners have a myriad of aches and pains along our running paths. Many of us have looked or felt like this picture of Gabi. When Gabrielle saw this picture, she said, “Oh my gosh, Mom. Delete that one.” None of us wants to picture ourselves looking like this, even though I know I’ve had this expression on my face on more than one occasion. I like to envision myself more gazelle-esque. For the most part, I’d tell friends (as I’d expect them to tell me) to push through the pain. It’s important for us to listen to our bodies, know when to back off, stretch or take a break but, for the most part, us runners are a hearty group who pretty much push right on through.
Push through. Right up until I entered 8 of my kids in a Halloween race. 3 did the 1/2 mile and 5 of them entered the 5K. Not their first rodeo, my kids are seasoned hikers, bikers, wake-boarders, skiers as well as runners. We could increase the running, sure, but they’re in great shape and entering a 5K doesn’t make me bat an eye. They’ve all done a few.
The race began at 6:20PM and as they rounded a corner part way through we caught a glimpse. When I took this shot, I had no idea Gabrielle was having trouble. As she got closer, we stopped Gabi and her big sister Olivia to find out what was up. Side stitches. The damn things can be nearly debilitating. I felt guilty. I entered her, I felt as if I’d done it to her. I felt helpless. I would have done anything to take it away. I asked her, “Do you want to stop?” but she shook her head and kept going. Had she stopped she would have cried, felt disappointed, wished she had finished with her siblings. I knew this. But I also knew I didn’t want her to cry through half a race. I didn’t want her to hurt.
Gabi crossed the finish line with Olivia just a couple minutes behind two of her other sisters. I was amazed!! She had been crying and in pain and now had almost caught up to siblings that had been quite a ways ahead of her!! She was elated! Minutes later, her name was called over the intercom. We were all confused but she walked up to the announcer. Gabi had won first place for her age division!!! No child could possibly been more surprised or ecstatic. Had I pulled her from the race, she would have never experienced the end result. I would have robbed her of the experience of pushing through. Of finishing strong. Of succeeding. Not being disappointed in herself but proud. She later hugged me and told me, “Thank you for entering me in the race. It was awesome. We need to run more.”
We should listen to our bodies. But sometimes, pushing through pays off.