Some might think that when I say, "the reward is in the journey" that I'm just trying to brace myself for the fact that I might not do that well in competition. I'll admit, there have been times I've thought that about myself too. Of course I want to do well in the competition, if the competition didn't mean anything, then why would I even participate? Having said that, regardless of how I do in the competition, I know where the REAL reward lies.
When I got home from work this evening, I changed my clothes, popped in my ear buds and headed out the door for a quick round of HIIT cardio. As I was about to walk out the door, my daughter says, "Mommy, I want to run with you!" At first I was reluctant, but she insisted and I agreed to let her come along.
Our neighborhood is small and secluded. I knew that I would be able to see her at all times and that there is minimal traffic. So the plan was for me to walk with her for 2 minutes, sprint ahead for 1 minute, then walk back to her and walk for 2 minutes, sprint...etc for 25 minutes. I was so proud of her for running the full minute during the sprints (obviously, she's 6 and wasn't as fast as me, but man did she try!)
My daughter isn't athletic, in fact, she's the OPPOSITE of athletic. She's not confident in her physical abilities, she's clumsy, quirky, and just not a very physical person. Our experiences with t-ball and lacrosse were less than triumphant as she spent most of the season picking flowers, singing, holding hands with other friends, and riding her lacrosse stick like a pony along the sidelines. I suppose that's pretty typical for 5 and 6 year old girls...
During our cardio training today though, she pushed herself. She pumped her arms, stretched her daddy-long-legs and SWEAT. She was working so hard! I cheered her on as she sprinted behind me, we walked together and chatted about how hard we ran and she actually got a little competitive with me (that's not typical of her!) On our cool down home, we held hands and laughed. She spoke in an exasperated tone, exclaiming comments such as, "wow! that was hard! You did awesome, Mom! Did you see how fast I can run? Can I run with you tomorrow too?"
It was that moment I felt like a winner! My journey has been an example to my daughter. See, I'm much like her...never have I really been an athlete, I'm clumsy, awkward, I run into non-moving objects (such as furniture and walls!) and I've never ever been confident in my physical abilities... I guess the apple doesn't fall far... Today I saw that I've been setting an example. I showed my daughter that we can do anything we put our mind to and that we are stronger than we think we are.
I got a little teary as we walked home. I never want my daughter to feel trapped or stuck with her physical appearance or abilities. I want her to feel empowered and know that she has 100% control over her health and fitness. Today...that was a REAL reward!