Posted by Nerinna Valera on
She just completed a ten mile run at age 12. And to top it off, she finished third in her race division (aka age group). All this with only three days of training within the month and a half of signing up for the race. We’re elated and I suppose Travis and me can take THAT to the bank…LOL….because it really is an incredible feat for someone young.
On the morning of the race, we let Hanna choose whether to run 10 miles or 10 kilometers. We went over the pros and cons and she opted for the 10 miler. Travis and I looked at each other and our eyes said…“okay.” I was to run with her and I knew my body would survive albeit painfully. My last race was a half ironman but that was four years ago so sadly I’m out of commission. My brain knew differently though….anything is possible…even when the body feels deflated.
Fifteen minutes before race time, Hanna and I walked towards the beginning and stood right up front. I wanted her to see and feel how it was to be in front. Most runners were checking their watches as the clock ticked down. Hanna and I were chatting. I was telling her runners will pass us and that’s okay. Let them go. Our goal was to finish so our pace, whatever that pace is, whether slow or slower, would be perfect. I saw her nervousness as the countdown started…..10, 9, 8…..I saw her crouch a bit into her running stance…4, 3, 2, 1….and boom!, we were off…slowly.
Throughout the run we struggled, especially the first mile as our body warmed up and climbed a hill and also the last three to four miles as our body pushed to keep going. Everything in-between was a blur. But throughout the run, Hanna had full autonomy. She decided whether to walk, jog, stop, rest, tie her shoes, drink water, drink gatorade….her choice. We gave her goals, the ability to make choices that day, encouraged, supported, all the positives we had we knew we threw her direction because that was what she needed. Even if she decided it was too much, we would’ve supported her as well. In this scenario, she completed her goal. Ten miles off the check list.
And just yesterday as we sat at our fave Vietnamese restaurant eating noodles and recovering from the pain, I spoke with her about a half marathon and mentioned she was only 3.1 miles away from a half. I noticed her thinking, calculating, saw her quickly look up and then I popped the question…. “Feel like running a half marathon?….13.1 miles…before you turn 13? I’ll run with you for support.” She said yes.
So, sometime this year Hanna will most likely finish her first half at the age of 12. Goal is to cross the finish line, whether we jog, walk, or crawl, it’s her decision, her pace and even if we’re the last to come in, we’ll celebrate. I’m elated because she’s learning, learning possibilities, overcoming obstacles, making choices and that’s knowledge hopefully she’ll use as arsenal in her present and future.
Way to go Hanna!