Running with Children

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Because I’m a mom, I often find myself feeling guilty for doing something so self-indulgent as marathon training. I know that running helps to relieve stress, boosts my energy, and makes me an all-around better mother, but still…guilt likes to creep in.

While letting the kids bike with me on runs is okay, it’s really not ideal for me.

I do enjoy spending the time with the kids, hearing their observations about nature, and how red my face is, and how drippy my hair looks, but the white space I find on my solo runs is good for my soul.

How much do I give them? And how much do I give myself (without guilt)?

I think I’ve found a compromise. It began with a new old bike and my bad knees.

I found a bright pink bicycle for Libby at the Junk Shop, and she wanted to take it for a spin. I had a run to do, but I wanted to try doing a warm-up, followed by stretching. So, off we went together, over the hill and through the fields for 2 miles.

It was blistering hot that afternoon, but with only a few uphill boosts from Mom, Libby did the entire 2 miles. I did my stretching at home, and then set off again.

My knees did not hurt at all during the next 8 miles.

This is a big deal, since normally, my knees start complaining after 6 miles.

It was so terribly hot that not only did I drink all the water from my hydration pack, but I unsealed the bladder in order to dump the water stuck in the corners on my head.

I was unsuccessful, as the clear rubber bladder looked as if it had been shrink wrapped. Fortunately, I had brought apple slices with me and was able to shove enough handfuls in my mouth to make it home without collapsing.

It was a terrible, brutal, horrible, hateful run. EXCEPT, my knees didn’t hurt, and my little girl got to be a part of it; two facts which made the day a success.

It was such a success, this idea of actually warming up and stretching, that I tried it with the other kids.

William ran my short run with me (the entire two miles). He kept up, ran ahead, jumped in circles, ran with his arms down by his sides, and monologued the entire way (a little breathlessly). I beat him, by the way (but not by much). I still have better endurance:)

Noah ran an entire mile with me, happily chatting. I ran slowly, for the benefit of this almost 9 year-old, until he smiled up at me and said, “Okay, I’m going to run now,” at which point he left me in his dust. He promises to run a marathon with me when he’s old enough.

Katie cheerfully and quietly biked 2 miles with me as the sun was rising and the rain clouds were moving in. She was content simply being with me–something that both puzzles and humbles me.

I love my kids, and I love running.

Now it seems I can enjoy both, no guilt required.

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One response »

  1. This sounds perfectly wonderful to me! Your children are experiencing a bit of what brings you happiness and some physical pain. They are spending time with you and are also getting fresh air, sunshine and exercise. All mothers should share this type of experience with their child..be it biking, hiking, running or even long walks. Maybe the obesity problem in the west would slow down a bit. this time together away from the house, the tv, the phone, the computer, gives the child an opportunity to share ideas, thoughts or any problems with mommy. Never feel guilty, Keri, you are the family inspiration!

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