Sole Stories: LaWanda and T'Lai, the Mother/Daughter Duo
January 03, 2012
Everyone has a story. For some it’s a story of wanting something more, for others it’s a story full of tears, heart and determination. Our series “Sole Stories” will give you a glimpse into what drives women to change their lives and their “soles.” I stumbled upon LaWanda and T'Lai after reading an email from LaWanda requesting a shirt for her 15 year old daughter on a mission to earn a Black Girls RUN! tee. I was hooked and wanted to know more, and needless to say the story nearly brought me to tears. LaWanda explains how she's leading by example and making it fun along the way.
As I was preparing to run the Thanksgiving Day 5K here in Atlanta, my 15 year old daughter, T’Lai (pronounced TaLay) asked “Mommy can I have a BGR! shirt? They are soooo cute!” I looked at her and explained that my BGR! shirt was not the latest fashion trend, but something I rewarded myself with after running my first 5K. I explained to her that BGR!
is a movement that is focused on motivating black women to take charge of their health.
After my long spiel and deep sighs from T’Lai, I decided to challenge her, if she wanted a BGR! shirt then she had to earn it. I presented T’Lai with the challenge of completing 10 CONSECUTIVE BGR! group runs… if I went…she went! I did allow for some exceptions due to her school commitments, but if she did not attend a run for any reason other than school then she would have to start her count from scratch…yep start over! She accepted and on Sunday, November 27, 2011 T’Lai participated in her inaugural BGR! Atlanta group run and ran/walked 4 miles!
T’Lai states “I was surprised by all of the ‘older’ ladies cheering for me and each other. I even saw one of my teachers out there. Mommy told me that there were no half mile markers on the course so I had to walk/run to the “1” or “2” then turn around so I went to the “2” and did 4 miles. I got a blister after this and then I understood why mommy wanted me to wear those ‘moisture wicking socks,’ I wear them now.”
“I love running/walking with BGR! and my mommy. One of my favorite things is getting back to the finish line and cheering people in. It is so much fun. We dance, take pictures, shake pom poms…it’s just fun. I was so excited when I got my new running shoes, compression pants, dri- fit shirt, reflective vest, and moisture wicking socks; I felt so ‘official.’ Then, for my mid-way incentive, Miss Valerie (Reed) surprised me with BONDI BANDS, now I don’t have to ask Mommy to wear hers, they are so cute,” said T’Lai.
I absolutely love that T’Lai and I participate together. It is a bonding opportunity for us. I love that she sees me, at 40 years young, working on improving my health. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes…you name it, runs in our family. I want to instill in her that it is easier to get into the habit of making good food choices and exercising at 15 than it will be at 40. I love that my BGR! Atlanta sisters have embraced my baby and watch out for her when I run longer distances. I love hearing the excitement in her voice when she says “Mommy, I killed that hill.” I know there are days when she does not feel like going, I have those too. However, after we get to the meet up the energy from our BGR! sisters gives us the boost we needed. Afterwards, we talk about how much fun it was and our accomplishments for the night.
On January 8, 2012 T’Lai will participate in her 10th consecutive BGR! Atlanta group run and will receive her shirt. The challenge does not stop here, because if she stops participating then the shirt comes back to me. After all, the shirt reads “Black Girls Run!” not “Black Girls Ran!”