It all began with a question on Saturday morning. “Mami, how fast can you run a mile?” I didn’t know. I knew I was fast, used to be fast, had been fast. Definitely past tense. I also knew that I was terrible about speed work, fartleks, and all that other stuff you’re supposed to do. I’m more of the slow and steady wins the race type. But my daughter wanted to know. She’s on the middle school track team and talks about this stuff daily. She had a growth spurt, has legs longer than mine, and wanted to race me. I was still in my running shorts and thought I could use one more mile that day, so I agreed. I had nothing scheduled except for “Mom time” anyway.
My nine-year-old son was listening in, so she designated him timer. But then he said he wanted to race, too, so he changed out of his pajamas and the three of us walked to the park. I though this was all a great idea until we got to the start line. Suddenly my stomach flipped and my heart beat faster. “Just lose with grace,” I told myself. “Don’t quit. Don’t trip.” We set our watches. On your mark. Get set. Go!
My son took off like Flash Gordon. What the? There is no way he can keep that up. My daughter had a decent pace that was not too difficult to follow. One quarter mile down and I was still on her heels. This was going good. We hit the half mile mark. My son had totally disappeared around the bend. My daughter saw that and picked up her pace. Considerably. Dang it! I did too. The gap between us had increased. Deep inhale, slow exhale. I passed a walking woman around my age who was smiling at us. “I’m just trying to lose with dignity here.” I shouted to her. Okay. Only a quarter of a mile left. There he is! My son was sprinting to the finish! How can he do that? That’s amazing! I kicked it up a notch. He crossed the finish line. Thirty seconds later, my daughter crossed it. And I was ten seconds behind her.
I was so surprised and proud of my son! And of my daughter! And I didn’t die! And after we caught our breath, we talked about it. My son had been absolutely convinced the entire time that he would win. He’s the fastest in his class. It never crossed his mind that being first in third grade might not necessarily transfer to being first overall. My daughter had assumed that he would quit and that she could easily pass him and win, so she didn’t run her race pace until halfway in. As for me, I had assumed I would lose from the very start and never even tried to pass them.
It was our mindsets that had determined the outcome of the race. I thought of the saying “Assume makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” The power of the mind, not the power of our legs, drove us to the finish. Change your mind, change your life! And now we are ready to do it again. See you in the park next Saturday!