Racing with my kids

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My girls — ages 14 and 11 — have watched me run all their lives. (Thank goodness for jogger strollers.) It wasn’t until the past few years that they took an interest in doing local races with or without me.

So far, their favorite races have been the Color Rush 5K and the recent O’Grady’s St. Paddy’s 5K run. In the Color Rush, everyone gets colors thrown at them when they run by the blast zones. How fun! That race ended with a grand finale when everyone got to throw colors up in the air, or at each other. You can imagine the fun and results. A kid’s dream to practically swim in colors.

My girls really enjoyed dressing up at the O’Grady’s St. Paddy’s race. They got to wear lots of green colors. Even our dog dressed up. He made quite the impression. You can always dress up in a race.

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Here’s our typical schedule in preparation for race day:

  • We pick up our race numbers and map the day before run.
  • We lay out all the racing clothes and shoes.
  • Pack extra clothes for any unexpected weather change.
  • Pack snacks and drinks. Race events usually have snacks and water available.
  • Eat a healthy dinner.
  • Get to bed at a reasonable time to get our rest.

Race day:

  • Wake up in enough time to eat light so we don’t get side aches.
  • Arrive to event, get to know the course and do a little warm up.
  • Race time. Smile.

Important reminders from Coach Mom to my girls:

  • No sprinting right away at start.
  • If you have to walk, it’s okay.
  • Stay on course.
  • Have fun and remember the only goal is to cross finish line.

Finish:

  • Celebration time! High fives!
  • Stretch
  • Have some food and drink plenty of water.
  • Take pictures.

Some of the fun family races aren’t even timed, which puts less pressure on everyone. A lot of events aren’t just for runners. They are for walkers too. What a good deal. No reason to not give one a try.

Most, if not all races do have a registration fee. The fee usually benefits some local agency in need of funds, which makes me feel good about giving. It’s a win-win situation. You give and get your exercise for the day. In some cases, kids get to run for free, depending on their age. They usually get something for participating.  It’s a good way to introduce kids to running or walking in events.

The best advice to my girls and friends is to not compare yourself to anyone else. You are running or walking for you or for the cause of the event. I only compete against myself, but most important is to have fun. My only personal goal is to finish any race I do. If I have to stop to tie my shoe, get a drink of water, to stretch or because my body aches, then I will walk. Once I am able to run again, I will. I listen to my body.

Our community has plenty of local races in the valley to participate in. One great resource to find out when the next race is, is through Run Wenatchee. The organizers have done an amazing job. Visit their website and it will speak for itself.

Run Wenatchee also hosts a club run/walk every Thursday from 4:30-6:30 pm. All you have to do is show up and sign in outside Saddle Rock Pub & Brewery, located along First Street between Wenatchee Avenue and Columbia Street. It’s free! Anyone can come to run or walk. You can bring kids and dogs. They keep track of your attendance because you earn shirts after completing a specific number of runs or walks.

If you are not able to participate in a race for whatever reason, you can always volunteer. Races couldn’t happen without our community volunteers. We appreciate them very much. I have definitely and happily volunteered in races. When you run or walk, you get endless encouragement from the crowds and volunteers. It really helps keep you motivated.

Go ahead and give it a try if you haven’t already. It’s so much fun when you are able to participate as a family.

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