How did she run 8 miles?

Today my daughter, Shannan, jogged her first 8 miles non-stop. "How did she do it?" I ask myself incredulously. I should know better, the will of the mind is much stronger than the will of the body. Simply mind over matter. Shannan is a slender girl, 5' 11" She has NEVER run more than 4 complete miles. All my previous runs with her left much to be desired. Yes, I saw her as a chip off the old block having the potential to be a distance runner like her dad. But to me attitude has everything to do with running and if you have self-doubt then perhaps the stands/ bleachers are the best place for a person to be. Shannan is a bright strong minded girl who didn't like my coaching her. "Shut up Dad!!!" sums things up nicely. After dealing with her attitude once too often, I told her, "Shannan, you are training on your own. You are unteachable." I go into embarrassing detail here because Shannan has proved me wrong tonight.

My first surprise was that Shannan asked me if I wanted to go for a run. "Okay, I'll play along." Surprise number two, "Dad, I want to jog 6 miles." Now I knew I had to push this. In the driveway before our run I tell her, "Shannan, it is all in your mind. Tell yourself that I am going to run 8 miles." All along I knew this might be way out of her reach. She responded with uncharacteristic optimism, so I sympathetic offered my support and off we jogged. I told her slow down Shannan, slow down. And she listened to my coaching. I told her keep your arms down, don't hold them up to tight to your chest. I told her breath out through your mouth, your body will breath in automatically. She listened without showing the slightest irritation. I said to myself, "Who is this young girl I'm jogging with. do I know this girl?" We continued on to mile two and I told her run mile by mile. Each mile is a small victory bring you closer to your goal. She picked a leaf off a branch and said, "This is my inspiration."

I kept observing her looking for weaknesses. Looking for Dad to step in and save her from certain defeat. Was I a responsible father bringing her out this far knowing she couldn't make it back. It started to get colder my hands were getting that characteristic numbness cold air brings on moist hands. It was getting darker, had we left too late? Mile 4, our half way point. There's little graffitti's on the trail sprayed in white. Heart shaped faces telling us to keep it up! and Wow! Dinosaurs with little smiles painted green spaced out every mile or less along the trail. Shannan seemed enchanted by this little artistic bits of inspiration. I tell her they're my inspiration, my little speechless friends keep me motivated.

I tell Shannan if you make this run I'll give you $10. But Shannan is beginning to slow down. I know as an experienced runner she'll never make it home. I imagine myself carrying my daughter on my shoulders. I tell her if you make it 5 miles I'll give you $5 and every mile after that I'll give you $2, a possible total of $11. I'm trying to motivate, I'm trying to pull out that person that can do anything against impossible odds. but Shannan is motivating me. Her cousin is in the hospital struggling for her life. She tells me, Dad, I'm dedicating this run to Mary." I tell her, "Shannan run each mile for Mary. And that becomes the prime motivation.

"Okay, Shannan, this is the psyche test. Your mind will tell you you can't. Your body will start to hurt. Your feet will hurt." We are past 5 miles closing in on 6 miles. Shannan has run for an hour now. She has proven herself a runner in my eyes. This is not the Shannan i knew before, this is a reborn Shannan with a new attitude and a new determination. This is Shannan the Champion.

I tell Shannan this last few miles will be the toughest. It is dark now and it is cold. Shannan is in uncharted territory. She has an opportunity to stop at the stoplight, but she keeps jogging in place. I am truly running with a great runner. Now I begin to chant, "Shannan, boombyai! Shannan boombyai!" Shannan the killer. Shannan the slayer of the 8 mile run. She is noticeably weakened, yet her determination is undeterred.

We cross the highway, only 400 yards or so to go. Shannan opens up into a sprint. I tell her, "Shannan NO! you'll hurt yourself! She slows down immediately." And I can't help but think if she continued sprinting, would I have been able to keep up with her? After the Shannan tells me she doesn't know how she did it. She doesn't know how she jogged  8 miles. I tell her, "Shannan, I don't know how you did it either." But I do know she had it in her all the time.

Lewis Jackson

Posted via email from libertyhealth’s posterous

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