On March 1st we ready-set-goed our way into the #31milechallenge.
It turned out to be one of my simplest hare-brained-ideas yet. Little research, little planning. Just running. We could do it anywhere, anytime and we could all participate. One mile each day, for one month. We ran mostly around our neighborhood, but also in parks and to
the donut shop (train ’em right) and even in the dark with headlamps while we were camping.
There were three reasons we started the #31milechallenge at our house.
1) The kids are dying to play organized sports. A team, ANY TEAM. But our spring schedule just wasn’t havin it. We needed a flexible and free sport. So, I sold the idea of this “really tough challenge” I’d “heard about” by claiming I thought they MIGHT be up to, if they were willing to try. And with that challenge bait… I had them. HOOK.LINE.SINKER.
2) We needed to finish something. Together. We have some big goals and dreams for our team of 9. But some of them are completely out of our reach right now. This one…running one mile a day for an entire month… was a challenge. But attainable. It took teamwork, dedication, some creativity at times, but we could do it. And we needed to know we could. So we did. Even a certain nearly 6 year-old ran most of the miles and the 3 year-old conquered a few himself.
You know what? This was maybe my very favorite thing I’ve done with the kids. But each individual day of it was not entirely um…delightful. There was some whining, some “but I cants”, some dragging everyone else down…all of which happen to be my hot buttons. There was a day when I literally put my hand on someones back to keep them moving forward. That someone did not like the idea. Stopped dead cold in his/her tracks. And we both have the scrapes and bruises to let you know how that went for us. We just kept going, even on those days. And because we kept going there were a lot more days of making up songs while we ran, setting new records, telling jokes, making up random encouraging phrases and inventing crazy team names. That’s why it became such a picture of real life and doing hard things.
3) We ran to train. For life (like choosing positive narratives, encouraging others and making your mind strong), but also for the 7th annual Teen Lifeline 5K. Our 31 days of running and training ends tomorrow and Saturday we’ll run in the annual event which helps support an organization that teaches teenagers to live life better.
About a week ago our two littlest team members helped me see why this part of our #31milechallenge is so important…
The first day we ran, a certain 5 1/2 year old whined his way through one half of the mile. including one complete meltdown related to a scrape approximately the size of a flea on his leg. And sat in the stroller sniffling for the second half of that same mile. Two weeks later he RAN (and I mean RAN) two miles in a row one day. A few days after that, being the PRO-RUNNER that he had now become, he turned to the single member of our team who happens to be smaller than himself and said (without prompting at all) “You know what, Tito? I think today you can run a whole mile. I’ll help you.” And he did. They did. Holding hands 99.5% of the way. One passing along the very same encouragement to the other that he had received, “This is gonna feel so good when you are done.” And as I watched them cross the finish (photos absolutely NOT staged this time) I couldn’t help but think…”YES. This is how its supposed to be. What good is the finish line if that’s the end of your race? Of course you are supposed to turn back and encourage someone else to run too.” OF COURSE.
So many teenagers need to learn exactly what we learned from running. They need a push sometimes. Need to believe they are strong. Need to know they can run, even in the rain. Need to remember to turn back and find a buddy and run to the finish together.
Many of them have all the tools to run great races right at their finger tips, but haven’t ever been told how to use them. And many have huge obstacles standing between them and their fastest fast. Maybe grief, maybe divorce, maybe life choices, maybe a new baby. Many need to find an entirely different course to run on.
Whatever the need, whatever the obstacle, I believe Teen Lifeline can help.
That’s why we need your help to finish this last part of our #31milechallenge. We don’t want it to just be about us and what we accomplished in March, but about what we helped others do, too.
Will you help these 7 know you are cheering them on to cheer others on? Tomorrow when they cross the finish line on their 31st day and Saturday when they run the big race, I’d love to be able to show them the names of all of you that are supporting them!
Every dollar you give to the TeenLifeline 5K helps teenagers. And encourages us to keep running, too!
Donate here: SUPPORT TEAM LEWIS for the TL5K
Thank you for loving us, for cheering us on, and for supporting us in so many ways.
We hope you are finding ways to challenge yourself to challenge others, too!