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,

-Iris

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