Last week, at our Practice 5K, one of the most vocal and talented young girls on the Ridgecrest B team was without her Running Buddy. To ensure every girl ran with an adult, I stepped up and said I would join her for the practice 5K. I must be honest, I was a little scared to run with her as she is quite a talented and competitive runner – I really didn’t want to hold her back. I became even a little more worried when she expressed to me in her snappy, schoolgirl way “I REALLY hope you can keep up with me today because I plan on winning”.
At our school, it’s a 6-lap course to complete the 3.1 miles and the course basically circles around the school perimeter. We started out towards the front of the pack and after each lap, she asked me to keep track of her competition (i.e., how far back, who was gaining steam, etc.). I gainfully tried my best to distract her from her “winning” by telling her stories, pointing out a beautiful blossoming tree or asking about her school day. But the further we ran, it was clear she had her mind set on taking first place. As I was telling her who was behind us for what felt like the 10th time, I said in passing “We may be a lethal pairing, us two,” and of course, her response was “What does lethal mean?… Is someone catching up, Coach?”
As we neared the last lap, she pointed out where we should sprint from so we could ensure her victory. Right before her designated sprint spot, she said, again in her schoolgirl way, “I’m glad you could keep up with me today… I was a little worried.” We spent the next several minutes cheering on the remaining finishers, proud of what we both accomplished. The following week she told me that her mom bought her ice cream that night after she told her of her BIG win. I felt so happy that I helped her accomplish her goal, even though, in reality it was her that pushed me along the entire distance. It is simply incredible how STRONG these girls are… each week they surprise me anew.