Since having kids, running has always represented my time to get away. It’s the only time no-one can follow me with questions/requests/constant chatting. I do love being a parent, but I very much cherish my little solitary windows to focus on myself.
When my six-year old started asking to come on my runs with me a few months ago, I dismissed him saying he wouldn’t be able to keep up and that I go too far for him. I was sure his interests would change, so I kept putting him off and told him that “one day, you’ll be able to”. Well, the other day I finally relented, and told him we could run together. I had no idea what to expect. Good thing! It turns out he had his own rules to follow when going for a run:
1. You MUST look the part. Here are the back-to-school shoes I’d bought for him a few weeks ago. He had his choice of any style for his one pair of shoes (skate, retro, blinking lights) and he chose these:
He also insisted on wearing my GPS watch.
2. Show full confidence and act like this is something you’ve been doing for your whole life. Every time I uttered some words of encouragement I was hushed with “Mom! You’re embarrassing me. People will think I’ve never done this before!”
3. If you see a bench, sit on it.
4. Whenever you see a hill, run down it at full tilt.
5. Don’t be afraid to fully express how hard it is to come back up the hill.
6. Don’t worry about how far you’ve gone or when you might want to turn around. You’re exploring! Follow every path of interest no matter how far it goes.
7. Just because it’s called “a run” doesn’t mean it can’t also be an obstacle course.
8. Or an off-road bush-whacking adventure.
9. When you get tired, just sit down!
10. When you’re close to home, sprint for all you’re worth.
In the end we covered nearly 5km. We both enjoyed it, and have gone out again since. I know that the amount of time I have left where he wants to spend time with me and thinks that my activities are cool is limited, so I’ve decided to go with it for now. I’ve even caught myself saying “if you continue acting like this there will be no running for you!” Pretty severe punishment. But really, how can you argue with the post-run endorphins shared with a love one?