|A quick photo before all the clothing changes. (Note the stocking feet on Marissa.)|
This morning was the Girls on the Run 5k run. Marissa has been in the program all fall, all 10 weeks of it. While they train for a 5k, they also do great activities promoting good self-image, anti bullying, and other confidence boosting messages. That's rather ironic, considering what happened today.
On October 30th we had the practice 5k, which didn't go well. Actually, it didn't go. Unbeknownst to me Marissa had planned to walk the whole thing. Since we didn't get started until 5:00, I didn't have an hour to walk around the lake, as my husband was traveling and I had to pick up my eldest from Minneapolis Kids by 6 p.m. We ran for a little bit, then we walked, I cajoled her to run, she responded by refusing to move. In 20 minutes we had gone approximately a quarter of a mile. So we turned around and left. We walked back to the start, which was also the finish line, and could see and hear other girls finishing. In the time that it had taken us to walk a half a mile other girls and their running buddies had run 3.1 miles. Marissa was so embarrassed that we didn't do it that we intentionally walked a path around the finish so they couldn't see us ducking out.
The next session the coaches asked the girls how it felt to run the practice 5k. Girls talked about it being exciting, fun, challenging. Marissa's response was that it was embarrassing and disappointing because "my mom didn't want to walk it."
So it's my fault.
I felt awful. I felt horrendous. I felt like the worst mom in the world. I thought to myself, "I'll make it up to her for the 5k. If she wants to walk the whole thing, we'll walk it."
That race was today.
Of course it was all of 10 degrees this morning, and snowing. Rock star weather to have a bunch of 9-11 year olds run a race. But this is Minnesota, we're hearty people, and we know how to layer like nobody's business.
It began by Marissa refusing to get out of bed. "Why is this so early? I'm not even up this early for school." she complained.
She got dressed. She didn't like what she was wearing. She changed her pants. She changed her shirt. She put on snow pants. Then decided not to. Then took off a layer of pants and put the snow pants back on. She put on running shoes. Then took off the running shoes and put her boots on.
We were 20 minutes late leaving the house, and we were already planning on not being there right when the activities were supposed to start. At this rate we were barely going to make it in time for the start, assuming we knew exactly where the start was and drove right there.
Which, of course, we didn't. I knew the race was at Como Lake in St. Paul, but had missed the message that due to the inclement weather they had moved the pre-race activities to Como Elementary School, just a hop skip and a jump from the lake.
But which side of the lake? I drove all the way around the lake at least once. We stopped and parked at the rec building on the lake, but it wasn't there. We got back in the car and drove around some more. In the meantime, Coach Kristi was texting asking where we were.
Well fuck if I know.
Once I found out it was at the elementary school I started driving towards it, but they had already left the school to walk down to the lake. We drove around the lake some more. Finally I saw some Girls on the Run volunteers, parked near there and figured we'd get to the start from there. They informed me that the start line was about a half a mile down the path and pointed us in the direction of the start.
We began walking to the start, me texting/talking to Coach/Aunt Kristi as we walked. We could see all the encouraging words and sayings printed in chalk on the race course. We got a ways down the path and then Marissa sat down on a bench.
|What a 5k run is not supposed to look like.|
"I don't want to do this," she said.
We talked about how she had trained for weeks, had spent lots of time with her teammates, how her friends were expecting to see her. We talked about finishing what she'd started, and that this was the BIG FINALE.
She would have none of it. Finally I said that we'd wait there, when the runners started coming by we would find her friends, get in the pack and then pick up the race from there. Because of the weather they had already said that if you only wanted to do one loop around the lake instead of two you could.
"Let's just walk the one loop," I said. She said nothing.
We could finally see the first runners coming our way. "Come on!" I said. "Let's go!"
"No, let's wait until they go by," she said.
"What are you talking about? C'mon, let's join them," I said.
"I'm too embarrassed. No one else is wearing snow pants. Let's just go home."
Eventually that's what we did, both of us in tears.
I am frustrated. I am angry. I am disappointed. And she is all of these things, too. We both talked in the car on the way home how disappointed we both were in the day.
After a while she went up to her room, and a little later I found her sitting on her beanbag chair, crying. She said she was upset about missing the 5k, disappointing her teammates and disappointing herself. And she blames it all on my not knowing where to go for the start line.
It's my fault. Again.
She needs to take responsibility for not wanting to do the race. She had plenty of opportunity to still do the run/walk, even though we were late. Those were her decisions to not participate, not mine. We talked, she got mad, and she told me to leave as she curled up in a ball, sobbing.
"Now you know what it feels like to give up," I said. "It doesn't feel very good. I don't recommend doing it again." And I walked out and shut the door.
Maybe it was harsh. I don't think we are harsh enough at times. She needed to hear it, better to learn this lesson now. Later on she came to me in my room as I attempted to nap away the bad feelings from this morning, curled up and snuggled up to me, tears still on her face.
We're still sad and disappointed. Everything that Girls on the Run is not supposed to be.
Rock star day.