Kids are great memoiry-makers. While they may not remember to feed the cat or put their stuff away, they are great at remembering the things that matter to them. Here’s a memoiry from a young friend, Sam. He’s 12, and he remembers a special 4th of July.
My mom got it in her head that we should run a 5K. I play lacrosse and she takes an exercise class, but neither of us are runners. Every spring she talked about doing this one race that happens in our town on July 4th. She’d done it a few times before, but she never trained and never ran the whole thing. The summer I was 10, she decided this was the year and I was going to do it with her. I agreed, but I had no idea what I was getting into. Basically, I didn’t know what “training” meant.
We made the decision to do the race about four weeks out and my mom found a training plan online: How to Train for a 5K in four weeks. We started out mostly walking. That was fun. We took the dogs. I got to talk a lot about the stories I was writing and whatever else was on my mind. Little by little, we walked less and ran more. I did not like the running. I complained a lot and was pretty grumpy. For one thing, it was hard. Our training route was basically downhill out and uphill back. The uphill was not fun. For another, my mom didn’t want to talk while we ran (something about breathing). And, she wouldn’t take the dogs anymore because she said it was too difficult to run with them. (They like to stop and smell things.) Before long, I was running faster than her. I would get mad at her for not keeping up. I thought the whole point was to do this together! But she said we each needed to go our own pace.
As race day approached, I finally started to get it. I stopped complaining. By the end of the four weeks, we were running the whole way and had shaved quite a bit off our time. At this point, I just wanted to be as fast as possible.
On the day of the race, my mom warned me not to take off fast with everyone else. The course starts downhill, but quickly changes to an uphill grade and most people start out way to fast and then have trouble. Sure enough, the pack took off. I hated being passed by everyone. “We’re last,” I kept saying. But my mom assured me that we would end up passing most of those people. She was right.
We stayed together until the second water stop, just before the big hill. I really wanted to run and she told me to go ahead. I was a little nervous about that hill, but it turned out to be way easier (and shorter) than the hill we’d trained on. At the top, the course turned to the left and I sped up to sprint across the finish line. My dad and sister were cheering for me. My mom finished a few minutes later. We each beat our best training time by about five minutes. It was awesome. There was a big party at the end. It was a great accomplishment.