Obviously, neither one of these photos are of me or my children but they seem to go along with what the gist of this blog is all about.
We all started somewhere with our running. Some of us came from a family of runners and we were running races as children. Others discovered running much later in life. There are those that ran competitively in high school and college and those that just run because they like how it makes them feel. And of course, there are those out there that just don't want anything to do with running. But if you are one of those people that makes running part of your life, I think you'd all agree that running can be joyful, challenging, and rewarding! Just running in itself (without racing or setting PRs) can be fulfilling and help us have balance in our lives. However, I also think you'd agree that when we set new Personal Records and reach new levels with our running, it can be truly magical. The speed workouts, long runs, hill repeats, reading about running, talking about running, fine tuning your stride...when all these pieces come together in one awesome race it is as if a whole new world is opened to us and we just want to keep coming back for more!
Just as we all start somewhere with our running, we also started somewhere as readers and writers. As many of you know, literacy development and instruction is one of my greatest passions. It always brought such joy to me as a teacher to inspire and motivate my students to read and write and to see them start to identify themselves as readers and writers. It is a pretty amazing thing to see a child start putting the pieces together and finally take off with their reading and writing life. All the letter sounds, books they've heard, stories they've told, small sentences and words....when all these pieces come together and a child finally learns to read (just like with running), it is as if a whole new world is opened to them and hopefully they keep coming back for more!
Last night, my 5 year old daughter reached this Ah-Ha moment where she realized that she can read! I have never pushed the issue and so far have been one of those moms that reads lots of books to them, with them, and I let them see me be a voracious reader and writer. I have trusted that she is progressing just fine and I've been happy to see her find joy in text. But last night, I took out my daughter's kindergarten word list to work on a few of her sight words since we had not done that in a long time. Usually she kind of kicks and screams about the whole thing so I try to trust that she will learn most of it in school and I don't do much. Last night something just clicked with her and she was reading and loving it. I started writing sentences for her and she was reading them too. Once she realized she could really read and that the pieces were coming together, it was as if this huge light came on inside her little soul and her eyes were wide with excitement and joy! Now she can't get enough! She was jumping up and down saying "I'm a reader! I'm a reader!" This reminded me of what it kind of feels like for us runners when we set a Personal Record or have a really great speed workout...when we see all our hard work and all the pieces of our training plans come together for one awesome record! We know that there is a whole new level out there for us to work towards and it is exciting!
This morning, my daughter woke up so eager to start reading and practicing more and more. We read several B.O.B books together...well, she read them to me. She read every word and she was even okay with moving past the tricky words and coming back later. Then while I cooked breakfast, she wrote sentences to tell her own little story. I convinced her to stop being such a perfectionist and guess and go with words that were too tricky. I told here that that is what real writers do...we get a rough draft down and then go back after our thoughts are out. It was so cool to see her not get frustrated with herself but to just let her ideas flow. I think this is important for runners too. We need to realize that we need to get a few races under our belt before we can expect to really know what to work on with our running. We learn from every set back and new accomplishment. And we eventually learn that we can mess up or have a bad race and still come back strong!
Seeing my daughter so joyful over realizing she can read reminded me just why I am so in love with teaching. What a joy it is to see those little lights come on and to see a child experience so much joy and pride. What joy it brings to see that a child believes that they are a Reader and Writer just like their favorite authors and role models. I'm sure being a running coach brings with it some of the same joys! To see your runners believe in themselves and finally put the hard work and pieces together to set personal records, smash barriers, and reach new levels as a runner. Learning to read and achieving new levels with our running, racing, and personal goals opens new doors in our life and allows us to see just how limitless this life can be!
Oh, and this one is just for fun. I think she must be telling Santa that she can read!
What is a time in your life where you finally saw the pieces come together for something awesome? A race? A personal best? Seeing your children learn something new?