My seven year old daughter and her class of 22 first graders walk up hill about half a mile to Lake Temescal twice a month. This is part of the Physical Education program at her elementary school. PE, is not like it use to be. The PE teacher is a bundle of energy and needs 3-4 adults to help supervise this run. Last week, Ruby (the 9 year old Swiss Mountain Dog) and I joined the festivities. As we waited on the path down by the lake, we could hear the loud chatting of high pitch voices as the class was walking down the hill to greet us. You can feel the nervous and excited energy.
The kids stretch their legs on the picnic table and then line up at the imaginary starting line. The goal is once around the lake in less than 12 minutes. Ready, set, go….full sprint! These kids have no concept of pacing, breathing or body control. Arms are flailing and legs are going crazy. After about two minutes into the run they start falling off, walking, breathing heavy with arms above their head. The complaining starts too. “I didn’t sleep well last night.” “This is hard.” “A mile is so far.” And there are the kids in the back that are just chit chatting and have a bad attitude.
In the middle of the pack is my seven year old daughter. She is sporting her pink Nike’s, a purple shirt, blonde hair flowing in the wind and bright nail polish on every finger. She is the girly girl that does not like any physical activity. We have tried to teach her to do the “lake run” with a good attitude and to try her best. She was all smiles, ditched her chatty friends and took off like a true runner. Ruby could barely keep up with her and she has four legs!
As we crossed the finish line ahead of the kids with the negative attitudes, she had been there a few minutes before us. Her smile was extra large, droplets of sweat beamed on her forehead and she ran up to give me a big hug. She had done her personal best and had that euphoria you can only get from running. She said shyly, “I did my best, 8:45 and it was fun!” I was so proud of her and thrilled that she could experience that feeling of joy, personal accomplishment and high from running.
I love running with my kids, though it’s hard to motivate my daughter sometimes. I’ve found that taking her to the trails gets good results, though she sometimes amazes me on the treadmill as well! Great to hear that the PE teacher has them moving – sad when you read about schools/school districts have done away with PE (and art and music and…) in order to save some money.
That’s outstanding…way to get her started on the right track!
It’s so fun to watch little kids run. I tried to teach the concept of pacing to my 6 year old before her jog-a-thon but it was still an all out first lap followed by intermittent bursts of speed and walking.