Lucky us. We managed to make it to Miami during marathon weekend. We were too late and unprepared to sign up for the marathon or the half, but the 5K seemed manageable on 4 days notice. On Saturday morning we rolled out of bed and made our way to the start line at the Miami Children’s Museum. We got to the line 20 minutes before the scheduled start time and tried to size up the competition. This is no easy task in any race, least of all a 5K. Should we keep our eye on the 20-something blonde with the short shorts and compression socks? Or the older gray-haired lady sporting fluorescent pink running shoes and a triathlon Garmin? It didn’t seem like the group in the “Get Fit or Die Trying” jerseys would be much of a threat, but you really just never know.

Once the airhorn blew and we started weaving through the masses, we realized we had completely overlooked an entire demographic. At the end of the first mile we were still trying to get around kids half our size, and less than half our ages. By the second mile mark, there were still more in front of us. And as we approached the finish line, we realized there was a skinny little girl, a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than me, who I wasn’t going to catch. She was 12 years old.

Yeah, we got beat by a 12-year-old. And I’m not one bit embarrassed by it. Because really, how awesome is it that these kids have such strong support from their community? That their coaches are willing to challenge them and push them and encourage them to do hard things? That they have the discipline to train and sacrifice and be really amazing? I see these kinds of things through my “mom eyes” more and more and instead of thinking, “If I had someone coaching me every day, I could have beat her,” I think, “Imagine what it would be like for the boys to have that kind of support when they get to be that age.”

I hope the boys do have great mentors and motivators as they figure out what they are good at and what to do with their lives. I hope I can help provide that for them. And I hope they learn to be good sports when they get beaten by kids half their age. Although, I admit it’s easier when you can say, “Oh, yeah, well when my kids are your age, they’re gonna be awesome. Just wait and see.”

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