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Running With My Daughter – A Bit of an Update to My Favorite Blog Post

Pete and Emma LarsonAbout seven years ago I wrote what I still consider to be my most personally meaningful blog post. It was about my (then 8 year old) daughter, Emma, and how she had just run the cross country race of her life. Emma was never the fastest runner as a kid, in fact she quit cross country shortly into her first season in elementary school, but she had more heart than anyone, and she is exceptionally competitive.

It’s now 2021, and Emma is a teenager heading into her junior year of high school. I have been both her teacher, and her coach for track and field, and I’m quite happy to say that she is now quite a bit faster than me. When we run together, she pretty much leaves me in the dust within a half mile, a function of her increased ability, and my corresponding decline.

Emma started track her Freshman year during indoor season doing short sprints and throwing shot put. Though she enjoyed the former, she’d be the first to admit that shot was not her event. Then COVID happened, which resulted in the cancellation of Spring track during Spring 2020. During the pandemic summer Emma discovered distance running and cycling, and spent a lot of time training on her own leading into her Sophomore year. She played soccer in the Fall, but unfortunately our indoor track competitive season got cancelled. However, another coach and I decided to run workouts throughout the winter leading up to Spring track. It was during this time that Emma learned that she really loves distance running. She went on to compete in the 800-1600-3200 this past Spring, and just recently made the very difficult decision to give up soccer and switch to Cross Country in the Fall.

Emma and I are exceptionally close, and I’d be proud of her no matter what path she chooses, but for selfish reasons I can’t help but be a little excited that she is doing XC in the Fall. I think the reason I decided to write this is because we have been taking my oldest son on college tours over the past few months (he’s being recruited for track and field, but that’s a story for another time), and this week Emma accompanied us for the first time on a few campus tours. It made me realize that she will be in college in just two short years. It’s quite hard to come to terms with that!

The other day I told Emma that the reason I am most excited that she is doing XC is that it means we can run together for the next two years. I volunteer on occasion with our school XC team, but if she is there it means I can join them more frequently (soccer meant driving all over the place to games since both my son and Emma played). And we are training together this summer, though by “together” it means me just trying to keep her visible in the distance ahead of me…

One of the things I have realized as a parent is that as I have gotten older, my personal goals have often become secondary to supporting the goals of my kids. I haven’t run a marathon in years, and I barely run during track season as I am so busy carrying out my coaching duties that I have little time or energy left to run for myself. But this coming year is shaping up to be a bit different, as helping my daughter achieve her goals means that I might need to start developing some new ones for myself. I’m looking forward to what the coming year will bring!

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About Peter Larson

This post was authored by Peter Larson. Pete is a biology teacher, track/soccer coach, and dad (x3) with a passion for running, soccer, and science. If you'd like to learn a little bit more about who I am and what I do, click here, or visit


  1. I think the second chapter of this is that you must be so happy that you left your college job

    • Yes, no regrets. Absolutely love teaching high school, and becoming a coach has added a new element of joy to my life. Having my own kids as both students and athletes is just the cherry on top :)

  2. I really love this post especially the last part. It’s true, as we get older, our focus slowly shifts from ourselves to our kids and family. That’s a sign of being mature and responsible.

    I hope Emma gets to attain her goals. And please keep up posted on her progress.

    Good luck

    David Dack

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