The Supers

Monday is my longest day of the week. I’m up early (and early means by 5:30) with two energetic kids who are well-rested from the weekend and just won’t allow “Five more minutes”. After a full day at work, I spend the evening erranding since it is the only night that Daddy is home with the boys. So, by the time I can even think about going for a run, it’s usually past 8:00.

Last Monday, Runner’s Twitch grew worse with each passing hour so I could not wait to get out. Between the clear skies and unseasonably warm weather – warm enough to still be in shorts – I really wanted to get in a strong training run, especially with a race less than two weeks away. And, I was especially antsy as I had missed running the Sunday afternoon before.

So, at 8:15 I headed out the door with #1. Having company was something I really hadn’t planned on but I have a hard time telling my almost 9 year that he can’t spend some quality time with me, 45 minutes without the interruption of the phone, distraction of the computer or the needs of the little brother. Nor am I able to insist that he can’t get some exercise. My friends were initially critical of this parenting decision until they learned that he has LED’s on the front and back of his bike and a reflective jacket. Between his and my own reflective gear, we were visible.

And often, it’s being visible on my runs that motivates me to push harder; the last thing I want is for someone to see me when I’m slacking. As the two of us climbed “the hill”, a group of power-walkers waved and cheered. I wasn’t sure who the support was for: the 9 year old exuding confidence and power, or Mom driving herself uphill. Either way, it was all good.

After crossing the last traffic light, I decided to pick up the pace and drive myself to the finish. I zoned out, imagined the finish line of a race, and pushed myself harder and harder to get there. I heard #1 comment on the sound of sirens, but I had no idea what he was really saying. I tore down the final stretch, jumping onto the road to pass the older gentleman walking his pint-sized dog on an invisible leash – the kind that I always fear will get wrapped around my ankles. I crossed the last intersection victoriously and I stopped. I did it.

Then, turning around to walk back home, I stopped dead in my tracks; at the corner were two police cars with lights flashing. They were obviously looking for someone; I figured that there was a robbery at a nearby gas station or 24 hour supermarket. Now, I realized that my son heard police sirens but, like me, he was tuned out to everything except what lay ahead at the end of our run. Walking home, we chatted about how ironically safe we were with the police so close.

The older gentleman we passed was eyeing us, probably shocked that my son was not in bed like he should have been, I reasoned. As we neared him, he turned around and said, “I thought the police were after you, you were running so fast.”

I felt sorry for this man as he probably really did think that I was “the bad guy”. After all, he only saw a person wearing a baseball cap and androgenous clothing, a person running hard towards him and being followed by police cars. This wasn’t exactly the way I wanted to be noticed but, in an odd way, it made my run. I thought of my youngest’s passion for Superman, Mr. Incredible and other Superheroes, and I ranked myself right next to them. That one comment gave me an undescribable feeling of power. I feel ready to race again.

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