Half Marathon Training with a Teenager

Last year, my then 12 year old son said he'd like to run a half marathon.  I thought he was just being funny or talking in the distant future, but no.  He was serious and insisted on it.  We researched some races and talked some more about it.  I gave him the good and the bad, but honestly, mostly the bad because I wanted to paint a truthful picture and the truth is that training for a half marathon is not easy.  He acknowledged that it was going to be hard work, but that he really wanted to challenge himself and run his first half marathon at the age of 13.  So, we did it.  We signed up for the Cedar City Half Marathon on September 8, 2018.  I explained that he would be training for a half marathon all through summer break and even into his first weeks of back to school but he was not deterred. 

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While he was still in school, we started with 2 mile once a week runs.  Then, last month, we started the actual 14-week training plan and he's been training pretty consistently for the past 6 weeks.  We have 8 more weeks to go and I couldn't be prouder of this kid! But please, don't get me wrong.  He is no super kid.  He is after all, a 13 year old boy and oh have we had our arguments.  It's been hard being mom and coach.  I feel like because it's been me giving him running advice, it's been hard for him to accept it and we butt heads a lot.  He's cranky at 6am and when I remind him that he signed up for this on his own, I get attitude.  I then have to remember he is still just a 13 year old kid and take a deep breath.    

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It's been hard, but it's also been rewarding.  I've been learning to be patient and let things go.  I'm learning to go at his pace and enjoy our time together regardless of our pace and whether I think he could do better or go faster.  I remind myself that I just ran my first half marathon 5 years ago at the age of 36! This kid is 13 and about to run his first half marathon.  I am so proud of him already! I'm not too mushy or sentimental, but I did cry after my 1st half marathon and after my 1st full marathon.  I'm pretty sure I will cry for the 3rd time again after I cross the finish line with my son in September.  But until then, there will most definitely be more cranky early mornings and arguments, and I'll just have to be ok with that.

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What races are you training for this summer? Any tips on running with a teen? EEK!! 

Badass Dash Las Vegas Race Recap

This past weekend I ran the Badass Dash for the first time at Sam Boyd Stadium.  I ran 2 other Badass Dashes a few years ago, both were at Silverton Casino and they were lots, so I was looking forward to checking this race out.  I ran with a team of 4 others, 2 girls and 2 boys, plus me! The Badass Dash is a 7K (4.4 mile) obstacle course adventure race.  

We had a 9am start time and by then it was pretty warm outside and we were ready to get started.  Unfortunately, they don't stagger wave start times the way Spartan Races or larger marathon events do.  So, there were hundreds of people lined up for the 9am start.  They couldn't let all hundreds of us go at the same time since that would cause major congestion on course, so they let us go about 50 at a time every 5 minutes. It worked out great because there was no bottlenecking at obstacles however we waiting in the sun for almost an hour and that was no fun. I would suggest they give us staggering or wave start times, so we don't have to just wait in line for so long! That would help us prepare a lot better and we wouldn't have to wait an hour in line! 

The Badass Dash is not intended to be a super intense race like the Spartan Races or Tough Mudders.  They are geared towards having fun and are a great introduction to obstacle course races.  They have over 40 obstacles, from super easy to difficult, throughout the course which is nice! I felt like the walls were challenging but also achievable for most, so that was a big plus!  Being in a stadium, I was totally expecting the stairs to be part of the race, and boy did I feel the burn on those! Once we got through the up and down of pretty much the entire stadium stairs + all the ones outside, they set up the last 10 or so obstacles in the middle of the field.  I really thought that was pretty neat and totally different for me, since I haven't ran a Spartan Stadium Sprint yet.  Lastly, they cooled us off with a fun car wash/spider web obstacle before crossing the finish! 

Once my team was finished, it was then time for the kiddos to race! They were running with their friends which made it super fun for them.  Both Diego and Elysse did the 2K (1.2 mile) Kid Dash.  Remember those killer stairs I mentioned? This was also part of their race and I am so proud that they pushed through on those! The rest of the kid obstacles were also all in the middle of the stadium.  They did most of the same last 10+ obstacles we had during our race as well.  All 4 of them finished strong and had a great time, even if they did complain a bit about the heat! 

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I would totally recommend this race if you're new to obstacle course racing and even if you are an OCR junkie! It's challenging and fun :) Go out there and give it a try.  You just might surprise yourself :) 

 

4 Tips for Getting Kids Active

All kids are different and have their own unique personalities with very specific likes and dislikes.  Some will gravitate towards athletics or have a natural ability for a sport, others prefer to read a good book, or can have a natural ability for math or science.  Whatever your child's natural ability or focus is, as parents, of course we want to encourage our kids to follow their dreams.  

As parents, we also want the best for our kids and we want them to be healthy.  We all know that too much time in front of a screen creates a sedentary lifestyle and we don't want that for them or for us! So what can we do to encourage our kids to be more active, without making them hate us for it?  

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When I started running half marathons and obstacle course races, my kids became curious.  Why was I coming home drenched in sweat while they were barely waking up? Why did we suddenly have a big tractor tire in our backyard? What was a PR? Why did I need something called GU (gross!)? So, I showed them.  They come to most of my races and are my biggest cheer group! They come to boot camps and sometimes they join in on some of it.  I got them involved in my new found passion for running and my excitement became contagious.  Soon, they were joining me on short runs around the block.  They were setting goals for themselves to beat, their own Personal Records.  We made up little boot camp style workouts for them in the backyard and eventually we signed them up for some of their own races and then they had to "train"! Then came race day and they were stocked to receive their own medals and see all their hard work pay off.  


Tips for Getting Kids Active

  1. Lead by example.  Show excitement about going for a run or working out.  If you complain about having to workout, there's no way they're going to want to join you.  As the saying goes, you don't have to workout, you get to workout! Keep a positive mindset for your own activities because those little ones are always watching us :)
  2. Get them involved.  Ask them to join you for a run, if running is your thing.  Get yoga DVDs that are kid-friendly and do them together.  Go to the park and play basketball together.  Plan hikes as a family.  Whatever gets them excited about being active!  
  3. Reward them.  Set goals together and when they reach them, give them a reward.  It doesn't have to be anything outrageous, just something that will keep them motivated to keep going.  
  4. No pressure! Don't make it a chore for them.  It should never be about punishment, but rather something they look forward to regularly.  Keep it fun, change it up a bit, and go with the flow.  

It's not always easy for us.  One kiddo likes it better than the other.  They still fight and tease each other sometimes during our family runs.  They can be competitive, even with the almost 4 year age gap.  But, as parents we just keep encouraging them.  I keep inviting them on runs with me and sometimes they don't want to and I don't make them.  Other times they ask to join me on their own.  It's not perfection but they are more active than they used to be and now they are really understanding the importance of taking care of their bodies.  

Do you have any tips on how you got your kids excited about exercise? Let me know in the comments.  I'd love to hear them :)