A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

The Race, The Chase, and The Sacred Embrace

Last weekend my 8 year old daughter and I ran her first 5K race together with her Girls on the Run team.

Words alone could never do this experience justice.

I think the best way to share the highlights of it is in the format of my race day iTunes playlist.

1.) Lose Yourself (Eminem)

We are herded toward the starting line and given a 30 second countdown. No turning back now.

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo

This was the first time I had ever run a race with so many kids. Leaving the starting line is like trying to flush 100 ricocheting pinballs down your grandma’s pink porcelain commode.

2.) What Goes Around (Justin Timberlake)

“What goes around, goes around, goes around
Comes all the way back around”

The runners are spreading out and setting their paces. I love this song…it always helps me get into the rhythm of the run.

3.) Any Way You Want It (Journey)

Oh, I want it. I just don’t know if I can do it. Doubt washes over me as Mini-Me starts surging ahead little by little. She is so cute, looking over her shoulder to make sure I am still there. I don’t want to hold her back so I give her the thumbs up or wave every time. Not wanting to distract her, I finally motion for her to go on without me. She does. It is bittersweet.

4.) Waterloo (ABBA)

Possibly the worst running song ever. Yes, the 148 beats per minute would have been perfect for a 10 minute mile, but not the message I want to hear when running up a hill… alone.

“Waterloo. I was defeated, you won the war.”

Shake it off. New song coming on…

5.) Invincible (Pat Benetar)

Now we’re talking. I definitely need to feel invincible while all these small children are passing me. Oh look, there goes a mom pushing her twins in a stroller… right… past… me. Damn. I suck. But wait…

6.) Let My Love Open the Door (Pete Townshend)

“When everything feels all over
When everybody seems unkind
I’ll give you a four-leaf clover
Take all the worry out of your mind
Let my love open the door… to your heart”

At a rocking 165 BPM, this song could have been just the power surge I needed! Only problem: it comes on just as I am passing a yard sale. Seriously, hosting a street-side yard sale while people are racing past your house is pretty fucking uncool guys. It is super hard to finish my race with this shabby-chic adirondack chair on my back.

7.) Animal (Neon Trees)

“Whoa-Oh, I want some more. Oh-oh, what are you waiting for?”

Oh HAYLE yes. Great beat, fun song, I’m in the groove now. I can do this.

“Here we go again. I feel the chemicals kicking in.”

I am closing in on two girls running slightly ahead of their moms when I overhear one girl shout to her friend “YES! It feels so good to finally beat my mom at something!” The moms and I burst out laughing and it occurs to me that Mini-Me is probably feeling that same rush. You go girls! We moms are so proud of you!!

My daughter, just as she was about to cross the finish line with her coach, a full two minutes ahead of me.

 8.) Firework (Katy Perry)

“Ignite the light and let it shine. Just own the night like the fourth of July. ‘Cuz baby you’re a firework. Come on show ’em what you’re worth.”

I am approaching the home stretch now, and finally a downward slope after a long uphill climb. This is just the song I need to hear.

Speaking of bright spots, there was a woman at this race who was such a source of light, she almost blinded me. I’m telling you, she had a smile on her face the entire race. You couldn’t help but smile back when you saw her.

And not just because she was running in a pink prom dress.

"Boom boom boom, even brighter than the moon moon moon!"

It was love at first sight. I totally want to be that chick when I grow up.

Finally, the last quarter mile. The course ends with a lap of the high school track. The end is in sight! There are volunteers from the girls’ high school track team here holding up signs that say “You GO girl!” and “You are BEAUTIFUL!” My cup runneth over.

9.) Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (Michael Jackson)

“Keep on with the force don’t stop. Don’t stop ’till you get enough.”

It’s a little slow for my running goal, but I knew the words would push me. As I round the bend toward the last 1/8 mile, my 12 year old son Nature Boy runs up alongside me. “You can do it Mom! Finish strong!”

A few seconds later I am across the finish line and into the trembling arms of Mini-Me who is anxiously awaiting my arrival.

I ask her, “Oh honey, are you okay? Are these sad tears or happy tears?” “Happy tears, Mama. I’m so proud of myself.”

Amen, sister.

But this next one is the real money shot, if you ask me:

Major props to my husband for his bad ass sports photography skillz. Not easy to do with so many people constantly popping into his shots. And praise Jeeezus for photo cropping. Apparently spandex is a privilege and not a God-given right. I apologize to anyone who was running behind me that day. Those poor girls will probably never eat cottage cheese again.

I promised Mini-Me I’d continue training so I could keep up with her next time. She suggested we train together. Oh boy. Here we go again…

your very tired friend,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved.


  1. Alexis@TroublesomeTots

    That is simply awesome. You’re right – the money shot is totally money.

    As a side note I have only heard WONDERFUL things about Girls on the Run. I have no girls but will probably end up volunteering at some point. Really amazing program.

    And yes you should keep training. Then next year instead of crossing the finish line to enjoy a special moment with your child, you can crush all the little girls, finish first, and then turn back to your vanquished foes and say, “BAM! How you like me now?!?”


  2. Kristen

    Yay! Congratulations on finishing! Good luck with your next race… 🙂 And I have found that almost anything from Kelly Clarkson’s first CD is an excellent running tune. If the peppy beats won’t help you, the angry words will.

  3. dizzy desi

    You rock, girl!! I hope to get a shot like that with one of my girls someday (except that would mean I’d have to exercise–hmmm). That was worth every moment of bone searing pain at child birth. Thanks for sharing your sacred moment.

  4. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    Congrats! And you totally rock the spandex, Girl! What a great mom you are to do this with your daughter. Something she’ll never forget. I’d have to do it if my daughter asks, so I will discourage her as much as I can between now and when she’s old enough for this.

  5. Julie

    The only thing stopping me from jumping up and down while cheering loudly is that the entire house is napping.

    I am SO proud of you. Running is hard. And I am so impressed by Mini Me, her dedication and her drive. That is one amazing kid you are raising.

    And shut up about the spandex already. Your ass is fantastic.

  6. Gina

    Great job! You should be proud. You and mini-me? Just beautiful. The woman in the pink dress? Amazing! You and Mini-me ROCK!

  7. Lisa

    I agree with all the comments above. Julie had it right, shut up about the spandex. To quote Vince Vaughn, the word “asstastic” comes to mind! I know you’re very proud of completing the couch to 5K program, as you should be. I, personally, have only made it through the couch to loveseat program, so my hat is off to you! The “money-shot” made me tear-up. If one of my daughters ever asks me to do this, I will probably remember that picture and sign-up, even though it violates my rule about not running unless being chased by somebody wielding a weapon.

  8. Allysgrandma

    You had me at the title……I am in tears as I finish this. Cannot say more……

  9. Kate Takes 5

    That is so gorgeous – and you look so healthy and happy rather than the big pounding strawberry head that I have when I run! Well done!

  10. Kate

    Yay! Good job for you and Mini-Me. That’s so awesome that she ran it and finished. Good job for you sticking with it. What an awesome memory. Oh, and that money shot picture is perfect and should be framed and hung in your home. 🙂

  11. Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

    This goat has tears in her eyes. How wonderful for both of you. Congratulations.

    You do have to beware the paparazzi – they can be cruel.

  12. Lisa

    I am so stealing your playlist and getting my spandex butt out there! You and mini-me are such an inspiration! As for the prom dress runner, I am so impressed. I just might dust off my 22 year old wedding dress…right after I invest in some major SPANX products and a new pair of running shoes!

  13. Livin In Duckville

    You two ROCK!!! *sniff, sniff* Damn, I have dust in my eyes from your awesome speed & running skills… that’s why I’m blubbering… I swear….

  14. Amanda Andrus

    This post made me cry. You and your daughter did an amazing job. I have to agree that your husband did a great job with the photos.

  15. FiveOGrrl

    The DONNAS album “Spend The Night” (2002) is a MUST for your next race music selection. TRUST me on this. You will want to run in hot pants and a cigarette bouncing from your lips. I would pay money to see that. I think. well, maybe meanopoly munny. Your kid rocks harder than the Donnas.

  16. Anne Alexander

    I am so proud of both of you! I cried when I saw the shot of Mini Me crying, so proud of her acheivement… you’re doing a very good job my dear!

  17. Ann

    The photos made me cry too, so sweet. How special for both of you for her to say that she’s proud of you.

    Huge congratulations to you and Mini-Me!

  18. Sarah

    WOOHOO! WAY TO GO! and yes I am shouting that at you! Great job to you and Mini Me! Makes me want to dust off my Couch to 5K app on my Ipod and get grooving

  19. Mel

    Absolutely spectacular! Congratulations to you both!

  20. Mary Lou

    “Happy tears, Mama. I’m so proud of myself.” Oh, Iris, I’m crying happy tears for both of you! God bless!

  21. Jane

    yay for you both! It was obviously an amazing experience. Gotta love Michael Jackson for bringing it home! And yes-great sports shots.

  22. Crista

    You just made a bad day better, and you’ve guaranteed that tomorrow will be great!

    Thank you so much for sharing the story and pictures!

  23. jenny

    Re: money shot. You can tell there is no place MiniMe would rather be – You either for that matter. Lovely shot. Congrats to you both.

  24. Dawn@LightenUp!

    I love love love this! Congrats, my girlfriends!
    Love the money shot and the song list, especially “Lose Yourself.” One of my all-time fave “get pumped up” songs, even for writing.

  25. Heather

    I hate it when you make me eff-ing cry!!! 🙂

  26. Joanne B.

    A lump in my throat when I saw that $ pic… Worth it all, no? She loves you, she is safe with you! She thinks you are the be all and end all… It’s what we moms live for…And from moments like that, she will gradually learn that SHE loves herself, SHE is the be all and end all, and she can do ANYTHING, just like her Mom… And this is how we are ‘teach’ our daughters to be Moms… You must be so much in love with that child!…

  27. Kim

    I’m all verklempt. Grlz rawk.

  28. Jo

    *sniffle* you made me cry, and this time, not just from laughing.

    Well done to both of you!

  29. Kim at Let Me Start By Saying

    Those pics of you & Mini Me at the end of the race? *sniff* *wipes tear*
    You’re awesome. I only run if someone says “Free beer!” or has a big knife and wants to make Kim Enchiladas. Thus I am duly impressed.

  30. Leighann

    I am SO proud of both of you!
    What a wonderful accomplishment!

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