When Selfishness Pays off in Selfless Ways

  • Pin It
  • print
  • email to a friend
By Andrea Goto

Two days ago, I completed my first marathon.  Why?  Because I said I would.  I had decided this about three years ago, while I was running a half-marathon.  I came around a corner, and saw my daughter among the crowd that lined the course, smiling at me from the baby jogger.  Willing to accept second place, I stopped to kiss her on the cheek and then pressed on feeling a bit lighter. A bit more fleet of foot.

She proudly wore my finisher’s medal for two weeks straight.  Now 6 years old, she still dons it as an accent to her Cinderella dress-up gown.  Princess meets athlete.  I could not think of a more natural combination, or a better use.

I think it’s important for us to show our daughters what is possible.  She can be an artist, a surgeon, an athlete, or yes, even a princess.  She can be all of these things at once if she wants.  The lesson isn’t in the being, it’s in the becoming.  I didn’t simply wake up yesterday and decide to run the Atlanta Publix Marathon.  I trained for 4 1/2 months, running 4 times a week when I could barely squeeze in a shower.  At the hardest point of the training program, I was running an average of 35 miles a week.  Some of the Saturday long runs took upwards of 3 hours to complete.  Everyone made sacrifices.

“Why do you have to run?” she whines.

“Because I said I would.”

There are a million reasons I could give her, all of which are partially true.  I run for pure vanity, counteracting the unsightly effects carbs have on my thighs.  I run because I paid a $100 entry fee.  I run because I want the t-shirt.  But when it gets right down to it, I run for myself.  On solitary jaunts, I sometimes think of little more than putting one foot in front of the other.  Those runs are a kind of meditation—I’m in the moment with my body and, oftentimes, my pain.  Other times I listen to the voices in my head, giving my thoughts permission to distract me.  I solve problems.  I write stories.  I mentally get back on track.

When I put in the miles with my running partner, Kelly, we cover every corner of our lives—our husbands, our children, the vacations we want to take, the bills we hate to pay.  Sometimes our talk wades in a pool of profundity, but we can also spend an inordinate amount of time discussing our favorite flavor of gel shot (espresso!) or how we should coordinate our outfits for our next race.  Kelly has seen me at my best (running a personal record) and at my worst (let’s just say “runners trots” and leave it at that).  A friendship founded on running literally fills you up.

Those months of “selfish” training carried me to the 2-mile uphill finish on race day. But something else carried me across the finish line.  The muscles at the front of my shins were competing with the back of my calves, trying to determine who would give out first.  The late-morning sun beat on my face.  Salt had crusted on my cheeks.  At one point, I stopped and walked, wondering how I was going to make it another step, let alone another 2 miles.  But then I thought of my husband and daughter looking for me at the finish line. They weren’t looking for a walker.  They were looking for a runner.  “Go.”  It was all I could muster.  “Pain is temporary, pride is forever” would’ve been more inspiring, but the sentence construction was too complex for me at that point.  “Go.”

Up the hill I went, tired, angry and practically broken.  Then, about 50 yards from the finish line, I saw my husband and daughter wildly screaming “Go Mommy!” as if I were vying for a first-place finish. I started to cry.  Not because I was proud of what I was about to accomplish, but because they were.

So, yeah, I trained for and ran this marathon for myself.  But because I did it for myself, I also did it for my daughter. 

Andrea Goto swore that she would not let her child watch SpongeBob, take ballet, or consume food with Red Dye #40. Of course, that all changed when her daughter was actually born. Five years later, Andrea blogs about her revised approach to childrearing, which she likes to call Real-World Parenting. Her “technique” is based on commonsense and topped with a big dose of humor. Andrea is a regular contributor to PaulaDeen.com.
Read More From Blogs.

Read More From Andrea Goto.

You May Also Like These Blogs:

You May Also Like These Recipes:

Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

54321

Dear mrs.deen, It's my mommys birthday tomorrow, and I want to make her a cake. I know she likes German chocolate, but I'm only 11. Can you give me a recipie that's easy and yummy? And please hurry!

By Lauren Harris on April 06, 2012

54321

Love your recipes. I am a fourth generation displaced Savannahian, so that makes me feel even closer to you! IThanks for everything!

By Kathy Pasch on March 30, 2012

image
Paula Deen
Paula Deen
The Lady's Blog
The Queen of Southern Cuisine muses about her recipes, life and family. See Posts

Brooke Deen
Brooke Deen
Deen Mother
Advice on raising two boys (three counting Jamie). See Posts

Brandon Branch
Brandon Branch
Southern Style
Decorating Inspiration from Paula's Design Director. See Posts

Julia Sayers
Julia Sayers
Hot off the Press
Step behind the pages and let the Associate Editor of Cooking with Paula Deen fill you in on what goes into creating every issue. See Posts

Lisa Scarbrough
Lisa Scarbrough
Thrift Store Mommy
Mom on a dime advice from Paula's Digital Properties Manager. See Posts

Andrea Goto
Andrea Goto
Mom 2.0
Tips from a real-world mom with comedic tendencies. See Posts

Martha Lee
Martha Lee
Earth Mother
Practical, earth-conscious ways to live and parent in the 21st century. See Posts

Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Susan Greene a.k.a BUBBLES
Bubbles' Corner
Ideas and advice from a 21st Century young at heart Grandmother. See Posts

Cindy Edwards
Cindy Edwards
Southern Proper
Etiquette advice from a true Southern belle. See Posts

image

hi! wink i was wondering if you could share the recipe for the chiken/grape salad-the one that is pictured on the croissant above? thanks! wink sandra
Sandra Neuheimer-Huller in Chicken Salad: A Southern Staple on April 19, 2014 at 9:37 am

Where do I buy these magazines
in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 7:22 am

I WISH I COULD COOK. COULD I COME WORK FOR JUST ROOM AND BOARD AT YOUR NEW RESTURAUNT IN PIGEON FORGE FOR THE SUMMER? I WENT TO COLLEGE NOT FAR FROM THERE - HIWASSEE COLLEGE. YOU WOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY ME, I WOULD WORK FOR FREE JUST FOR THE EXPERIENCE. TAMMY LEVAN 19 SPENCER WAY KINGS PARK, NY 11754 HAPPY EASTER! CHRIST IS RISEN!
TAMMY L LEVAN in A Basketful of Traditions on April 19, 2014 at 3:31 am

Hi Bubbles, You have some great tips. Can't wait to read your other blogs! Please give Aunt Peggy a big hug from me and here is one for you! (((HUGS))) See you in May!
Jaci Pardun in 10 Quick Household Tips on April 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

Paula, I am glad to know that I am not the only person who makes Easter Baskets for their adult children and mail them across the United States. My Daughter lives in Long Beach, CA and I not only sent her a basket but her husband and my granddaughter Reese. We also buy special Russel Stover Bunnies for each child too. My husband has the list in his phone... Sara .. Cookies 'n Crème.... Sidney and Stephen.. Peanut Butter Etc. It one of my favorite things to do for my kids.. no matter how old they get. And passing it along to my Grandchildren. It's even more special to me knowing we share a family tradition. Blessings and Happy Easter!!
Sharon Cason-Card in A Basketful of Traditions on April 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm