I realize some of you follow LA and she just did a whole thing on quitting last week. But this topic hit me upside the head last night so I’m pausing my pity party for a moment to mention it.
My daughter joined the cross-country running club at school and went to practice twice a week for all of September; two mornings a week, and two at lunch. Friday was a day off from running.
As a 7th grader now, she has to run 3km around a park during the race, which happens later this week. Last year was 2km and she remained on mostly level surfaces, but this year, there’s a hill to navigate.
Most of her gal pals dropped out because of the hill. They’re anticipating too much work, too much fear, too much pain, too much something.
My girl? She knows it’ll be a challenge. She’s doing it anyway. 🙂
(Who is this athletic child I birthed? I don’t understand…)
Yesterday after school she draped herself over the couch and launched into a whole thing about her morning practice.
She ran, but she had breathing problems and chest pains, and it hurt, but she continued anyway…
We had been taking her to various doctors to figure out what these breathing issues and chest pains during exercise are all about. At one point, they thought she had exercise-induced asthma and they gave her a puffer. (She doesn’t have asthma and she no longer needs the puffer.)
They checked everything; she even did a stress test with a cardiologist.
Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with her. She’s beyond fit. Fitter than anyone I know.
Still, she struggles with occasional pain during running.
So I asked her what she wants to do.
“Keep running,” she said.
“What about the hill?” I asked her.
She shrugged her shoulders. She doesn’t have any place to practice running uphill, but she doesn’t seem to think it’s enough of a reason to stop practicing and participating in the race.
Which had me thinking.
Is her pain due to anxiety?
I did ask her what she would do if this happens again, especially prior to the actual race, during practices.
“Will you still go to the race?”
She looked at me with a bit of a stunned expression.
“Yes,” she responded. “Otherwise all this practicing would have been for nothing.”
Here’s the thing: at no point did she entertain quitting.
I thought it was interesting, especially because she was rather descriptive in her pain and suffering explanations. 😉
She’s right, of course, about persevering. But I’m her mom and I understand how the breathing issues and chest pains stress her out sometimes. I didn’t just want to drop the conversation, but I also didn’t want to tell her what to do (or not do).
Understand that I wasn’t pushing her to consider quitting, but rather, to accept that sometimes there are limits one has to recognize and respect.
“Listen to your body,” I cautioned. “If you have to stop because you can’t manage the pain, there is no shame in doing so. You are the only one who can determine if you can keep going, or not. Ok?”
She said she knew.
She wants to try the longer race, especially because of the hill. For her, it’s not about winning or beating others, it’s about seeing if she can finish.
As far as her pain is concerned? I think she will slow down and focus on her breathing if or when it happens during the race. She knows her support system will be waiting at the finish line, no matter what.
What about me, her mom?
I want to be just like her when I grow up. ❤