(despite the "Finish" sign above, this was our "before" pic,
we were much more worn out and sweaty in the "after" one)
Not too long ago my boy expressed an interest in taking up running. He's never been into team sports and we've agreed not to push him. Team sports aren't for everyone. So in an effort to get him into some type of sport and keep him active we've started running. Back in January we took the kids running at the middle school track and Brendan had a goal of running 3 miles. A distance he had never attempted before. So I kept a slow and steady pace with him, keeping him on track (reminding him he didn't need to talk because it wastes energy) and motivating him with every step. I taught him the "in through the nose, out through the mouth" breathing technique that my dad taught me when he got an ache in his side. It was around about that same time that he informed me of the internal motivation he uses to push past his desire to quit.
"Mommy, you know, whenever I feel like I can't keep going... I hear this cheering in my head that says 'you can do it, Brendan... you can make it... you're awesome!!'"
I smiled from ear to ear. "That's pretty amazing sweetheart. Not everyone can stay motivated like that. Keep listening to that cheering squad buddy." This boy... he's pretty special.
We practiced the 3-mile run a few more times and I decided we were ready to register for an official race. It was a small race, a fund raiser for a local middle school, just 41 racers total, perfect for his racing debut. I used my watch to keep a steady pace and I ran just a few steps ahead of him to keep him on track and motivated. When we reached the last half mile and he looked a little worn and weary I shouted back to him "you can do it buddy! are you listening to your cheering squad?!" and slightly out of breath he answered "I am! I can do it!" Then I chanted with our footsteps "you. can. do. it. you. can. do. it" until we sprinted to the finish.
The evidence of his exertion and giving it everything he had was glowing in his rosy red cheeks. We high-fived and hugged and I told him how amazing he was. I'm so proud.