A Princess’s Marathon

Ever wonder how many lengths of your house would constitute a workout? Certainly I hadn’t either until my little girl likely completed at least her first 5K sprinting the length of our West Loop duplex over and over and over and over… last Sunday morning.

After all, she was running a “marathon,” she said, after running home from the corner where we bundled up against the October chill and yelled continuously for at least an hour: “Go runners! Go girls in skirts!” I mean, really, haven’t you ever gone out to support the marathoners and in search of the best fashion statements? For us, tutus, Goofy hats and of course the girls in M&M costumes provided endless entertainment. And the few men in tutus -- endless giggles!

Always Something New
For me, the marathon always means something different. No, I have never considered running it, though I have always had unending admiration for the mix of courage, strength and a dash of crazy it takes to train and conquer a race of this caliber.

The first time I ever experienced the marathon, I “carpe diemed” with a new friend (now a lifelong one) to support the runners in our boisterous Lakeview neighborhood. Our “first girl date” was a blast despite fighting Gatorade-induced frostbite as we attempted to gracefully give the runners some hydration.

Each race since then has been unique – the runners I knew, the weather and which blustery Chicago neighborhood served as my vantage point.

The ‘Mommy High’
But this year’s marathon presented a cherished opportunity to be the mother I strive to be -- a mother that seizes unique experiences in this incredible city – (Carpe diem with the kids, too!) and one that provides positive role modeling for their health and wellness, and certainly their body image.

When my girl ran in the house, grabbed a tiara (a typical accessory for our little ‘princess’) and started sprinting down the hall waving a flower (“So you can easily find me in the crowd, Mommy!”), while instructing us to cheer for her and give high fives on each stretch, I felt an adrenaline rush.

The “runners’ high” became the “mommy high,” as she smiled and cheered and found joy in being physical and pride in her accomplishment.

For many of us, fitness is a personal endeavor. But there are opportunities to share the joy, the benefits and the highs with our loved ones – whether they’re 5 or 55. The marathon is powerful and showed my girl that runners – and those that love physical fitness – come in all shapes, sizes, colors, age and, most important, outfits.

There was a little boy cheering with us whose shirt said: “My mom ran a marathon today. What did yours do?”

Well, I made an invaluable impression on my little girl and boosted her self confidence. A well-spent morning, indeed.