My strange need to run every race is making me - and my kids stronger

My strange need to run every race is making me - and my kids stronger

Health and Safety

My strange need to run every race is making me - and my kids stronger

Courtesy of Lisa Nicita/Spartan Race

I may have overbooked my body.

I don’t mean I have conflicting meetings, or that I need a clone to handle carpools. I mean I may have just overcommitted my body and there’s a good chance my legs may stage a straight-up protest.

I can’t help it. Everything is on “sale” right now. Every 5K, half marathon, endurance challenge and obstacle course, from the Spartan Race to the Rugged Maniac. These are the ones where you must sign waivers that if you get electrocuted by the live wires you run through or burned by the flaming logs you hurdle, you won’t sue.

I saw the sales and stocked my calendar.

This is a new thing for me

Courtesy of Lisa Nicita

I did two of these bad boys over the past 12 months and loved every muddy, gritty, abusive, hilarious minute of them.  I loved feeling the weight of the medal around my neck at the finish line, and filling up on fruit, cake (that was actually served at one finish line) and the occasional beer after.

Maybe it’s because of…

  • My divorce. Maybe it’s not, though.
  • My age. I mean, I’m pushing 40.
  • My life stage. I’m a mom to three kids, so I have that lovely souvenir pooch that I’m pretty sure I’ll carry with me forever, since running 3 miles a day doesn’t make it disappear.

But whatever it is, I’m down for a new challenge. I’m not doing these crazy things to win, or beat the clock, although I did feel the need to overtake a guy dressed as Superman once just to prove in my Batman socks which superhero was faster.

I’m doing it to show myself I can

Courtesy of Lisa Nicita

And as I look around at these things, I know I’m not alone. A lot of people look like me. I mean, there are also elite athletes who could laugh me out of any challenge. But really, a lot of competitors are my age, with kids, trying to prove something to themselves.

“You’re going to win,” my son told me when I left for a 5K this year.

I let him know I wouldn’t, trying not to crush his optimism, but I would go as hard as I could. And that day, I did go faster than I ever had.

The coolest thing? Showing my kids I can do it

The coolest: I bring home medals. Photo courtesy of Lisa Nicita

A year ago I wasn’t running. I worked out off and on before and after babies. They knew that, and saw that. But I never got anything for it, except an abbreviated shower and additional, sweaty laundry to do.

With these? I bring a medal home. I bring a few bruises home. I bring stories home, almost exclusively hilarious ones that involve me getting out of some tough spot, be it through mud or over a wall.

And I get to bring them along for the ride. I think (read: hope) they might somehow be learning not to fear the unknown, because I’ve got no clue heading into these events what awaits. Will I be able to get over that wall, squeeze through that tube, run through a cramp, avoid injury?  I don’t know.

But I haven’t told them ‘I can’t’

At least, not yet. I’ve said and shown them “I’ll try.” And I think it’s filtering through, which is the ultimate payoff. All three participated in a kid’s version of a mud run this summer, after watching me complete obstacles; and all three asked to run the course again after they finished, their medals hanging around their filthy necks.

That was a good laundry day. And now they have official, experienced “mud run” sneakers waiting for the next challenge, which are actually on sale.

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