Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kick-ass kid.

Jacqueline Bonifant, 10/11/14 at the Chicago Expo , Chicago, IL.
Four years ago, our daughter Jacqueline ran in the Cape Cod Marathon. I was stupid-impressed, and blogged about watching her go through the process from registration to bouncing on her heels at the starting line.  (Further down is that post from 2010). 

About a year ago, she announced that she would run with a friend in the Chicago Marathon to benefit teen oncology at the Advocate Children's Hospital in Chicago.  She has been typically low-key about the ambitious decision and quiet about her training progress. Ambivalent at first about raising funds, she exceeded her campaign goals just last week.

Six weeks ago, when  it would have been ideal to shuffle a few life priorities to focus on training, she started a new job and moved into a new apartment. Her training became tough to keep up with.  A stubborn ankle problem was back. Nonetheless, on the phone last night, she was focused, happy, upbeat - and ready. 

"I just want to finish," she said, something marathoners say when what they would really like, please, is to finish with a kick-ass time. 

Today she started running at 8:23, and finished at 1:24, five hours and one minute later. 

I don't need a reason to admire my kids. I wake up in the morning admiring my kids. But this madly driven and frankly, sometimes ever-so-slightly intimidating little girl just makes me shake my head and say, "Who knew?" But of course, we all knew: 


From October, 2010

Here is class.
Here is determination.
Here is confidence in the making.

A few months ago, Jacqueline quietly signed up to run in the Cape Cod Marathon and without fanfare, went about the business of “training.” Periodically, there were updates about her running schedule (twenty miles before dinner two weeks ago), diet regimens and other things she was doing to meet her goal. Most of it she kept to herself, as though the sudden need to bow out might present itself and would be easier to handle without having raised anyone’s hopes, including her own.

On Saturday, en route to our hotel in Falmouth she said, “I don’t want to say ‘after the marathon,’ anymore. I shouldn’t say that as if I already did it.”

Sunday morning, at 6:15, she checked in and received her bib. At 8:31, a cannon sounded and she was off, her black and orange hair ribbons visible for only seconds before she was engulfed in a crowd of 1100 runners that rolled from the start line like a wave.  Her only goal she said at the beginning was to finish, to reach the end of the 26 mile route. She could have focused on the higher goal of placing, but she opted to bring it down a peg, zeroed in, and went for it.

I was at the finish line a good hour and a half before she appeared. Many runners sprinted to the finish, others limped purposefully across, some collapsed. One had to be carried. At around five hours and twenty minutes, Jacqueline rounded the corner several blocks away. Her pace was steady. She passed me, looked at me with a huge smile of “I did it", then crossed the line, arms raised. She was wrapped in a blanket and awarded a medallion. I was too awed to cry. At first. 

Finally+there.jpg (320×480)
This is the Jacqueline Bonifant route to confidence: Consider what you can probably do with very hard work. Then shut up and do more. Be constantly surprised by your own strength. Be motivated for the next challenge that comes along. Repeat above steps.

Sometimes, in spite of all our good thoughts, high hopes, solemn prayers, heartfelt beliefs and lofty expectations, our children don’t accomplish what we think/hope/pray/believe/expect they will, but more.

Jacqueline on Sunday, one month and four days after her twenty-first birthday, was Jacqueline squared.

Congratulations, my girl. I am beyond proud of you.

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