After a great start looping the school track last spring, our Tally Wally kept running...and running...and running. Now she just won't stop! Over the summer, this little gal insisted that she wanted to run a half marathon. To be completely honest, I was pretty reluctant at first. After all, 13.1 miles seems like an awfully long distance for little legs to handle. This 8 year-old was so determined, however, that I finally caved in. She demonstrated such a great attitude and so much grit during our training runs that I ran out of excuses to say no.
I've been nothing but proud since. Over the past ten weeks, she's logged over a hundred miles, working her way up from 3 miles to the 9+ she ran on Saturday. It hasn't always been easy and it's rarely been convenient, but she's trained with a smile. It's been amazing to watch her grow stronger, faster, and more confident.
Here are a few photos from our runs together:
West Papio Trail. Talia actually outran her Mom on this one when I bowed out after a tenth of a mile due to an unexpected tummy ache. Luckily, Daddy Jason was more than happy to finish the run with his gal.
Midtown Crossing. From our home, there's a fun route through Hanscom Park and the Field Club neighborhood that leads to this community space.
Unfortunately, the August weather was really hot and humid, making the run itself far from fun. Even so, Talia toughed out the 4+ miles.
In general, jogging along our familiar neighborhood Field Club Trail is much more enjoyable for Talia.
She especially likes to take the road less traveled (or in this case, a hidden dirt path.) Can you spot her blur dashing through the woods?
Here she is after running around Zorinsky Lake--eight miles for our eight year-old! A popular place to exercise, she got plenty of encouragement from other passing runners.
The only cheers we got on this next run came from a couple of cranes and a rafter of wild turkeys. Despite some blistering heat, Talia and I ran a 10K together while camping at Two Rivers State Park. Here we are pausing to try and catch a frog. (We may be fast, but the frog was still faster...)
Last but not least, we took a great run through Downtown Omaha on Saturday. Rather than seeming uninviting, the overcast gray sky was a welcome relief from the August heat. It’s amazing how far nine miles can take you if you’re willing to get out and move. It makes me sad to think of all the people who live out in West Omaha and never discover all the treasures their city has to offer. If only they knew what they were missing!
After parking by the pedestrian bridge, we headed south and ran around the fountains and lake at Con Agra.
Next, we hopped across some giant concrete lily pads by the downtown library.
Naturally we had to slip down the slides at Gene Leahy Mall as well.
From there, we discovered a firefighter's memorial that I'd never noticed...
...and ran through Pioneer Park. Somehow reflecting on the pioneers' journey made our own training feel slight.
At Talia's suggestion, we continued up the giant hill to Central where NomiAnn works...
...before continuing on to the neighboring Joslyn art museum.
Believe it or not, this was our first time discovering their Discovery Garden!
Only a half mile later we were at Creighton's law school, where Papa K is the director of the law library.
Not wanting anyone to feel left out, we continued to the Tiptop Lofts where Jason's architecture firm is situated.
A jaunt past the Ameritrade stadium (home of the College World Series), Miller's landing, and Gallup's campus brought us back to the pedestrian bridge...
...where Talia naturally ran into Iowa and around Hanafan Park before deciding to come back and stay a Nebraskan.
The best part of it all? Talia had fun. In her own words, "Mom, I loved it!" Sweetie,* I loved it too. Exploring the city is fun, but exploring it with my daughter doubles the joy. Sure love all you Wheeler munchkins!
*By way of clarification, I thought I'd share what Eli told me in the car a couple days ago. After calling one of the girls "buddy" he said, "Mom--buddy is for boys. Sweetie is for girls."