My husband, James and I took some of our kids (#5, #6, and #7) and ran a 5K on Saturday. I think what I like the most about 5K’s are what I also don’t like about them…they’re short! I like a short race because it doesn’t take up a huge chunk of the day, and even younger kids (I would say 7 and up) can run 3 miles. On the other hand, if you race that distance, there is no easy way to run it except fast…and that hurts.
I was hoping to pace my daughter Annie to finish around 20 minutes for the 5K, and I thought that if we could run the first mile in 6:30, she could do it (she runs cross country and is in the middle of her season). But when we got to the first mile marker and I looked at my watch, it said 6:48…and there was no way I could go any faster. I could tell from her breathing at that point that I was definately more of a hindarance than a help to her. So I gave her some encouragement and told her to push on ahead. She finished in under 20 minutes (19:55) and beat me by 38 seconds. She told me afterward she wasn’t even that tired and thought she could have gone a little faster…what I would love to be 13 again!
Gracie (11) ran it in 22:50 and John (7) went 23:13! But much more important than their times was the fact that they all had a great time and gained self-confidence by doing it. There is a lot of talk these days about building kids self esteem, and I think running a 5K goes a long way in accomplishing this. No matter how fast they go, finishing the race makes them feel like they have succeeded at something hard.
Even for my younger kids who didn’t run, the race atmosphere was fun and festival-like. Watching people enjoy themselves while exercising is great for kids to see…and the free Smoothie King didn’t hurt! With a big family, it isn’t always easy to get out on the weekends and be active and purposeful. With all the kids’ sports and just trying to work around the house on the weekends, it’s hard to get away, but we have been running 5K’s with the kids for a long time…ever since (#1) Charlie was about 8 years old. Although it’s a lot of work to get everyone up and out, it always ends up as a fun family morning.
Have you run a 5K with your kids? What other fitness events do you like to do with your family?