Sneaking Out for a Long Run

In June, I set my running goals for the fall. So far, I’ve been on track and I have the support from my family to thank for that. Daddy, who works nights and has come to hate getting up early in the morning, has been at every race with me, watching the boys, cheering me on and clenching his teeth when the finishes are seconds apart. My sons, aged 3 and 8, have been on most training runs with me, one in the jogger and one on his bike; the oldest has been dubbed “Mom’s support vehicle” as he keeps me company, carries water and my puffer (for my asthma – just in case) on my long runs.

This week, though, something happened and that support suddenly vanished. There was no warning, no words, no catalyst; it just disappeared. On Sunday, as I started to head out for my long run, #2 had a meltdown. He wanted to come; he didn’t want to stay home with Daddy. The feeling was mutual; Daddy had things to do and didn’t feel like hanging out with a 3 year old. Don’t get me wrong. The two of them are really close but, for whatever reason, the waterworks started. Off came my shoes. It was time to give back. “I’ll run tomorrow. It won’t make any difference.” Harmony.

On Monday afternoon, there was no meltdown; #2 was still napping when my support vehicle and I headed out for “our” 18K. Sick of running the same streets, I planned a different route, one with a tough hill to climb half-way through. We were both up for it – or so I thought. Four miles into the run, just as we were to head down the hill that we would have to climb to get back home, my support vehicle stopped. “Mom, I just don’t think I can handle it.” So, quick planning led to our running north instead, directly into the wind on a slow, gradual incline, back onto those same streets that I’ve been getting sick of.

With 5 miles left, #1 realized that we could make a quick turn and be home in 5 minutes. But, then, he realized (okay, I pointed it out) that the next part of the route was flat or downhill. I dropped him off at home with the other boys and finished the last mile and a bit on my own. Satisfaction.

That run was a reminder of the many things that running means to me. It’s about setting goals, about determination to finish what you start, and about family. Most days, they give to me. This week, they still did but on their terms. And this week, I gave back. Harmony.

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