Thing 2

She’s 25 Years Ahead Of Me

Nikki is VERY competitive and also a VERY ugly loser. We’ve been working on this for a few soccer seasons (she doesn’t seem as sore of a loser in softball for some reason) and maybe we’re making some progress? We’ll see this season.

The same facet of her personality that makes her an ultra-competitive sore loser is the same part that makes her stress/anxious about being the best/fastest on the field. All of these traits she obviously inherited from Donnie because I’ve never stressed about losing or winning anything in my entire life.

We took her on these Tuesday night cross-country runs this summer sponsored by our local track club. She would run the one-mile and the course is tough. It’s all on trails/grass and it’s got some elevation to it. Her best time was 9:25 but – once she started doing them on her own – she always finished under 11 minutes.

We can tell she is fast. Or that she could be fast if she could figure out how to control her breathing and her anxiety. One mile she can push herself and not have to stop, but more than that and she has to stop because she’s breathing awful, or because she’s upset. It’s weird – she gets upset for no reason. I’m constantly offering her to take walk breaks or water breaks and she just gets more and more upset, not doing either. And getting upset makes her breathe worse and I worry she’ll hyperventilate.

She’s done three miles a few times successfully in various patterns of run/walk. Her best was running 2 miles at the CC run, taking about a 10 minute break, and then doing a One Mile run. She’s also done some run/walking with Donnie for 3 miles.

So – we signed her up for a 5K.

My hope is that she has SO MUCH FUN that she’ll quit getting so anxious and upset. I want her to learn to breathe (we have tried everything to coach her about breathing…to no avail) properly, but mainly I want her to have FUN. I want her to see how proud you can feel after running a 5K and I want her to want to do more.

We’re going to do 5/1 run/walk intervals. She doesn’t want to, but I’m going to make her. I think that will give her time to catch her breath as she’ll inevitably be hyperventilating. Her body can run 3 miles no problem, it’s her horrible breathing that gets her every time. But mainly? I want her to HAVE FUN. I told her there’s no getting upset, there’s no crying, we can take as many walk/water breaks as we need…but I want us to finish with a smile on our face.

So…wish her luck. It’s frustrating as a parent to see the full potential of a child and them not see it too. It’s frustrating when they won’t just listen to you (Her best run came when she ran with one of my coaches and that coach told her the same thing we’d been telling her and you know what? SHE LISTENED THEN.) even though what you’re telling them is spot on. She’s athletic. She’s fast. She’s competitive. Everything I wasn’t. If she could learn to have fun while being all of those things? She’d be great. But I don’t want her to be stressed out all the time. I don’t give a crap if she wins or loses anything…so obviously that edge is genetic. I just want her to have fun.

I made a bunch of signs for everyone to hold the finish line, I’m hoping that will give her a push at the end. She always finishes strong…so strong I’m waiting for the day she pukes across the finish line.

Either way…she’s so much better off than I ever was. She is running her first 5K at the age of 6. I was 31 when I ran mine. If she crosses the finish line? I promise you I’ll be so proud I’ll be crying.

9 thoughts on “She’s 25 Years Ahead Of Me”

  1. She’ll be amazing!! Breathing is the bit that gets me too! If I’m running on my own I seem to be okay because I can go at my own pace as soon as I’m running with someone else I either feel guilty for going so slow so try and run faster than I should be or I forget to breathe and feel like I’m going to die lol.

    I’m sure as she sees you guys cheering for her at the end she’ll get a second wind or something.

  2. I was fine in my first two races, but my third race was a teeny, tiny local 5k… and I suddenly realized I might come in -literally- last. I couldn’t regulate my breathing AT all and let my husband (it was his first race) take off way off pace and then tried to keep up with him. I wound up crying at mile two and clutching my chest. I was diagnosed with asthma 2 months later, but I think the anxiety was the worst part of it. It’s great that she has you to teach her that it’s okay to have fun while running.

  3. Oh, I was that girl! I feel her pain. I was known for throwing game boards, quitting putt putt, and screaming at my Mother. I also got horrible stage fright. She cares a lot. And she’s a perfectionist placing high demands on herself. Do you guys have a Girls On The Run club around you? Because maybe instead of being perfect or the best she can learn to be better than she was last time and compete against herself. This might give her control over her emotions. Has she done couch to 5k? That really whips the breathing into shape too. Oh good luck fierce little one!

  4. You so get the great mama award. Just love the things you are teaching your kids.

    Are you doing the 5k out in Hamptcn Cove today? I thought of you all the other day when I got an announcement about a 5K next month in our neighboring subdivision. If you guys want to come out to Edgewater on the 22nd, I will be there with bells on to cheer for Nyoka (and you!).

  5. Do you have a speed camp available in your area for kids? My girl was extremely fast and extremely competitive also. Speed camp helped her with her breathing and made her realize she could still be super fast without being the fastest.

    The program we found was semi geared towards high school football boys. When they lined up for sprints it was funny to watch the boys try to figure out if they were going to have run against her or not and then try to push someone else in front of them so they wouldn’t have too πŸ™‚

    My girl is also an absolute pleaser and would hear people say how fast she was and of course this made her try even harder because she didn’t want them to think she wasn’t.

  6. Watch out for exercise induced asthma…. untreated, the first mile is always easy, then I can’t recover. I get stuck over-exhaling because I can’t expel trapped air from my lungs.

  7. I’m going to second (third?) the exercise induced asthma… I’d have her checked, perhaps. Maybe she really “can’t” breathe well, which raises anxiety..which makes the breathing worse πŸ™‚ Knowing you have it and dealing with that is easier than not knowing and worrying ’cause it seems so easy for everyone else. Been there πŸ™‚

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