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How An 8 Year Old Girl Taught Me To Push Past My Limits

I don’t have a really strong history of exploring my limits. I’ve always been pretty aware of them and content with just leaving them right where they were. They are limits. They are there for a reason, right?

But about a year ago, I watched one little 8 year old girl push the hell out of her limits and walk away like a boss.

Like, a for real 8 year old badass girl boss.

She was the youngest and smallest girl on our Girls on the Run team. She was not a fan of running. She liked the games and she was all about socializing. But running, not so much. She would whine the entire time, drag her feet, complain of being too hot, tired, thirsty, bored. She was a struggle and finding ways to motivate her seemed impossible.

As the season goes, we practice running farther and farther, with the goal of building up to a full 5k. Towards the end of the season, we run a practice 5k so the girls can get a sense of what to expect and how to pace themselves at the big Celebration 5k.

So, the day comes for our practice 5k and I know I’m going to be the one hanging at the back of the pack trying to convince this girl to keep going. In my head, I was practicing the motivation techniques I would try. I figured at some point, I would end up just begging.

But people surprise you.

This child ran. And she ran. And she ran some more. There were a few moments where she started to question herself and we could see that she was starting to give up. But she didn’t. She kept going. She found her limits and pushed right on through them.

I don’t think I’ve ever actually witnessed a child her age voluntarily push through pain like that.

But she did. And when she crossed that finish line, sweaty and out of breath, the smile on her face was priceless. You could see it in her entire being, that she found a strength that she didn’t know she had. It was one of the most magical things I’d ever seen.

So, whenever I start suffering during a race thinking that I could ease up on my pace and avoid the discomfort, I think of that powerful little 8 year old girl. And I keep going.

And because of her example, I get to run with awesome people and collect cool awards like this one…

HumanKind 5k benefitting HumanKind in Lynchburg, VA
(Photo by Felix Lopez)
Plus I get to represent while wearing my Girls on the Run tank. Because if you’re gonna rock a tank like that, you better run hard.
I feel honored to have been a small part of helping this girl find her strength. You can be part of it, too. Click here to donate  and you can be part of these awesome stories.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find an ice bath so I can manage to get out of bed tomorrow.


Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.

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