How my 2 year old’s race experience is just like yours…and life

Yesterday I watched my almost 2 and a half-year old “run” a race and it reminded me that the human experience of races and life lessons are pretty similar whether your 2 or 72.

Race Morning Fuel and Race Outfit

First we woke up, had a good breakfast, and got psyched. We picked out an outfit that he felt confident in. He put on pants with lightning bolts all over them and a hat that said “Rad”. He has been a little intimated at the 2 previous races he has done, so I think he was going for the “fake it till you make it” approach with the wardrobe selection that screamed “fast and bold.” Good choice little dude. Then we headed to the race.

Pre Race Pep Talk

As we approached the venue, some serious pep talk was going on as he asked where the start line was and “what was next” about a million times. As we went to get his bib number he had a bit of a meltdown at the sight of a person dressed up as a gorilla. Have you ever been there race morning? Maybe you can’t sleep the night before or you couldn’t find coffee the morning of the race, or your outfit doesn’t fit right. You’re all set to go the day before and then BAM a curve ball is thrown your way and you have to choose how you’re going to react to it. If you are like my son, you start shaking and crying. Hopefully you have some more practice with these kinds of things, so your moment isn’t as scary as his. We talked it out and my husband calmed him down talking about all the other dressed up costumed people we’ve seen. Skittish, he made his way to the start line.

Race

He started out nervous wondering where the finish line was ( it was a 1k race). In the middle of the race he needed a break and asked for my husband to carry him. But as he approached the finish line and I could see him racing towards it with a huge smile of pride.

Post Race Glory

He barely talked about how scary the pre race gorilla was. He was so proud of finishing the race (and loved the post race snacks of course). The rest of the day he talked about how fun it was and told everyone we saw all about “his race”. We watched a video of him charging towards the finish line about 50 times before he went to sleep. He smiled as he pressed play again and again.

As I laid in bed last night I smiled thinking about how similar his emotional experience was to people of all ages. It got me thinking about how we always talk about how similar running is to life. How running is a great practice of how to move through life. Life is full of “pre race gorillas” that throw off our plan, even when you think you’ve completely set yourself up for success. Even when you are wearing your lightning bolt pants.

The more we run, the more we get to practice, the more we learn. Perseverance, determination, how to adjust to obstacles, how to power through them. Let the road and trails be your teachers. Carry on running warriors… will we see you in Santa Barbara?!

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