About quitting, or not

I realize some of you follow LA and she just did a whole thing on quitting last week. But this topic hit me upside the head last night so I’m pausing my pity party for a moment to mention it.

My daughter joined the cross-country running club at school and went to practice twice a week for all of September; two mornings a week, and two at lunch. Friday was a day off from running.

As a 7th grader now, she has to run 3km around a park during the race, which happens later this week. Last year was 2km and she remained on mostly level surfaces, but this year, there’s a hill to navigate.

Most of her gal pals dropped out because of the hill. They’re anticipating too much work, too much fear, too much pain, too much something.

My girl? She knows it’ll be a challenge. She’s doing it anyway. πŸ™‚

(Who is this athletic child I birthed? I don’t understand…)

Yesterday after school she draped herself over the couch and launched into a whole thing about her morning practice.

She ran, but she had breathing problems and chest pains, and it hurt, but she continued anyway…


We had been taking her to various doctors to figure out what these breathing issues and chest pains during exercise are all about. At one point, they thought she had exercise-induced asthma and they gave her a puffer. (She doesn’t have asthma and she no longer needs the puffer.)

They checked everything; she even did a stress test with a cardiologist.

Anyway, there’s nothing wrong with her. She’s beyond fit. Fitter than anyone I know.

Still, she struggles with occasional pain during running.

So I asked her what she wants to do.

“Keep running,” she said.

“What about the hill?” I asked her.

She shrugged her shoulders. She doesn’t have any place to practice running uphill, but she doesn’t seem to think it’s enough of a reason to stop practicing and participating in the race.

Which had me thinking.

Is her pain due to anxiety?

I did ask her what she would do if this happens again, especially prior to the actual race, during practices.

“Will you still go to the race?”

She looked at me with a bit of a stunned expression.

“Yes,” she responded. “Otherwise all this practicing would have been for nothing.”

Here’s the thing: at no point did she entertain quitting.

I thought it was interesting, especially because she was rather descriptive in her pain and suffering explanations. πŸ˜‰

She’s right, of course, about persevering. But I’m her mom and I understand how the breathing issues and chest pains stress her out sometimes. I didn’t just want to drop the conversation, but I also didn’t want to tell her what to do (or not do).

Understand that I wasn’t pushing her to consider quitting, but rather, to accept that sometimes there are limits one has to recognize and respect.

“Listen to your body,” I cautioned. “If you have to stop because you can’t manage the pain, there is no shame in doing so. You are the only one who can determine if you can keep going, or not. Ok?”

She said she knew.

She wants to try the longer race, especially because of the hill. For her, it’s not about winning or beating others, it’s about seeing if she can finish.

As far as her pain is concerned? I think she will slow down and focus on her breathing if or when it happens during the race. She knows her support system will be waiting at the finish line, no matter what.

What about me, her mom?

I want to be just like her when I grow up. ❀

29 thoughts on “About quitting, or not

  1. Oh no! You stole my blogging subject for the week! How dare you… πŸ™‚ Seriously, it’s going to be sort of the same, but a bit different (AGMA style!). Check it out later today. Kudos to your daughter for her grit and determination – it will serve her well through life! And I love it when WE can look up to our children! (Sometimes I want to be just like Son#2…) But I honestly have a feeling that you and she are more similar than you think… And I agree with Ally who said she is wise beyond her years. She’s probably an old soul (like Son#2!)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Could just be that all the muscles involved in her breathing are being forced to get stronger. They just aren’t there yet so they get crampy. Could be. Regardless, kudos to her for persevering.

    Depending on her competitiveness, from a coaching/parenting thing perhaps encourage her by telling her that most of the other girls are intimidated or going to get mentally crushed by the hill. That’s her chance to beat them. Also, the pain of the hill is going to be there no matter how fast or slow she goes up it. It’s easier mentally to just get through it rather than to let it linger. So boogey up the hill > dawdle up the hill.

    Until you are doing the funky-chicken in a ditch somewhere, you can take another stride. The brain just has to tell the body to shut up and do what it’s told.

    Last but not least, I know she’s running X-Country but from a training standpoint some interval training for strength may be beneficial. Find a short(ish,) local hill and sprint up it. Then jog down it. Do that a few times and she’ll not only be used to dealing with the pain of the hill but also she’ll gain significant strength/endurance and be able to power through these obstacles.

    Running can be an absolute joy when you get into your second wind and are still young. You are able to focus on breathing and the rhythm of your feet while appreciating the strength and marvel that is your body.

    Nowadays though, I’m not running anywhere unless someone is chasing me and even then….I’ll just trip someone else to make my getaway.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think they use stairs as part if their training…

      We’ll find out tomorrow at the race how it went. In the meantime she’s getting a foot and leg massage today. πŸ™‚


      1. Also, don’t let her static stretch before her activity. Dynamic stretching is far better at warming up the body as well as preventing injury.

        Static stretching will reduce her overall athletic performance.

        Dynamic stretching before. Static stretching after.

        Yes, I know she’s in 7th grade. From the sounds of it she cares about competing. But *I* want her to win.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Sometimes it is really weird being the mom sitting on the outside and watching your kid do things like this. BG is so similar, but with dance, especially pointe. The things you have to do to your body to get the correct positions are so not natural and for her, she does some massive tweaking to her hips that are incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes really painful, like feeling like her hip is popping out of joint with actual pops (loud enough to hear across the room). We’ve had it looked at and the doctor didn’t think there was anything to be concerned about, so BG is just moving on. Have you ever seen a dancer’s feet? It is so not a pretty site. But, as much as I cannot stand to see her in pain or even uncomfortable, this is important to her. As long as there isn’t any concern from a medical perspective, I’m going to keep wincing every time I hear a pop and watching her do what she loves.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m good with walking. Walking doesn’t make me feel like I’m dying. I’ve NEVER been a runner and have never seen the appeal. I’d rather look like the idiot I am when I dance than run.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent post and bravo to your daughter! Hills are different and i found i shortened my length of stride to make it easier, but she could consult a coach.
    Let us know about the day of the race.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think you handled this well. As a mom whose now-grown son was incorrectly diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma, I understand your concern. In hindsight, I now see that his problem was likely anxiety-related. Bravo for your daughter to persevere. Bravo for you, the mom, to talk to her about your concerns. Keep a watchful eye would be my advice.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I am often caught off guard when she shares her opinions in all the elaborateness of 11 year olds…but upon reflection I calm down and think with my sanity in place. She is quite practical, that kid. And I’m glad she still, as a tween, feels comfortable sharing with her parents.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You raised a tough, awesome, strong child. But of course you’re right to remind her to watch what her body is telling her!

    Liked by 1 person

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