I have a love-hate relationship with speedwork. Each interval leaves me fearing the next but, once finished the set, I feel that I have really run something special and can’t wait to get out the following week.
However, my husband works nights, Shawn’s wife works in the city and, between us, we have three young boys; getting out to run together is a challenge in itself. Week one, we got a sitter, a sixteen year old rugby player who played with the three muskateers outside while we ran. The only thing better than an exhausting workout is tired children who are asking to go to bed!
Last week took more effort. Skipper had a piano lesson after school and our sitter plays rugby on Thursday. This meant running later, when Shawn’s wife could watch the three muskateers. She took them to the park while we ran – a recipe for another night with tired boys.
Part way through my warm-up, my mind wandered to the park and I clearly thought “I hope Skipper doesn’t fall.” He had had a tough week at school, late nights with homework and was a tad on edge because of his MRI booked for this week. While I believe that a tired child is a good child, I also know that a tired child is more likely to have an accident.
And, sure enough, when we got back to the house, I heard a sheepish “Cynthia, um, Skipper fell. And, it’s really quite bad.”
There were no tears (geesh, my son is tough when I’m not around) but he had scrapes and a bruise, a huge bruise – the type that will probably calcify as it heals. While the boys were running over the gravelly playground surface, Skipper slipped on some rocks, tore his shorts and branded his thigh with the shape of some of the stones he landed on (Is this becoming a family thing?). Mom felt terrible but there was nothing she could have done to prevent the fall.
I often think about the things that I model for my children – my work ethic, my fitness, my diet…the list is endless. I hadn’t considered, though, how I model dealing with injuries. Skipper asked for ice as soon as he fell; despite the pain he felt while soaking in the bathtub, he knew how important it was to keep his wound clean; he took the next two days off running and swimming because his leg hurt too much; yesterday, he voiced that it was time to get on his bike and get the blood flowing through his legs again, so he joined me on the last half of my eighteen mile run.
Kids have an amazing resilience which lets them face a challenge, a trauma, or something that is just plain difficult. Often – and fortunately – they overcome it, put it behind them and rarely talk about it again. We grown-ups could learn a thing or two from the next generation. Think about how much happier our world would be.
This Wednesday, Shawn and I are looking forward to another tempo run; the boys are excited about getting together again to play. Shawn’s wife? She’s thrilled about working late again because she’s off the hook; we can get “a real sitter”.