While I have a few stories that I could link and publish this week for another edition of Nerd News I feel that this week I need to go a little more free form with my post. If the mood strikes me I may toss that geekery together and post it, but not now.
A little more than 4 years ago I decided that I wanted to start running for exercise. I’ve never been a gym rat, I don’t have the time to commit to crossfit or lifting weights on a regular basis, but I needed to do something. I also chose running because I thought it might, initially, require the least monetary investment. I already owned athletic shorts, I had old t-shirts I could run in, if I bought a few pairs of socks and a new pair of dedicated running shoes, paired with a program (Couch to 5K) and its accompanying app on my phone I should be good to go. I also chose it because my wife and I were expecting our first child. I wanted to be able to get down on the floor, roll around, and run around the yard with my kids. Running, I thought, could be a gateway for better health and maybe in the future other exercise. So, I started the program.
I’d had problems with my knees since junior high, so I figured, take it slow and I’ll be fine. I was mistaken. My knees again brought pain and frustration. It wasn’t serious enough to go to the doctor, so I would just rest and once feeling better, I’d start again. The birth of D and the winter months sidelined me further. I got going again in the summer. I’d done some research, changed shoes, and started again. Again, before long I was sidelined, this time, my knees were fine, it was awful shin splints. Months of rest and a fresh start.
Before long, my wife gained an interest and we both began running again. She was my ultimate motivation to keep going. It was fun to be able to go out, pushing the stroller with D cruising along, both of us, spending time together and exercising.
We have both gotten smarter and stronger in our running since those days. We have both finished a half marathon. She finished it a year before I could make the mileage. She would have run with me last year, but she was pregnant with our second son. Since F has arrived our running has been sporadic at best, but we usually get out individually about once or twice a week for runs of about 5K (3.1 miles).
In order to make running easier for us with 2 little boys we invested in a double jogging stroller. It was well worth it. But, getting out and running has still been difficult. As the weather begins to cool off we both hope to pick up the pace. Running in cooler weather is like running in a new body. The crisp fall air rushing past your face working to balance out a warm autumn sun on your face.
I am privileged enough to be able to be a stay-at-home dad during the day. One of my favorite perks is that if I wasn’t able to drum up motivation in the morning for a run, when the boys wake from afternoon naps, if time permits before my wife arrives home from work, we can squeeze in a run. Today was one of those days. While D was initially resistant, he warmed up quickly to the idea and we got ready to go.
As recently as this summer D has emulated his mother and I when it comes to running. He will put on our half marathon medals that hang on the fridge and run circles around the living room. When we go out for runs he will often start by running up and down the sidewalk then allow me to buckle him into the stroller. He will also grab out headphones and hold them to his ears while doing his “runs”. Like mommy and daddy, as he says. He has even requested and we purchased a headband so he can go on runs.
A few times in the last couple weeks when I go, he wants to run with me. Not sitting in the stroller with F. Okay. He runs on the sidewalk while I jog pushing the stroller against the curb. His longest distance before today was 1/2 mile. Pretty awesome for 4 years old. Today he said he wanted to run. Sure. Off we go. I’ve run the same route so many times now I have a pretty good idea of the 1/2 mile markers. I thought he would sputter and ask to sit around a 1/2 mile. Nope. He wanted a small drink from his water bottle and insisted on continuing on. We took a few short breaks for a drink and to walk about 15-20 steps, but then he would continue to run. He went 2 MILES before he decided he wanted to ride!
When I first started running it was to help improve my own health. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that our son would wish to imitate our love of running. Ever. Especially, so early. I smiled the whole time we were out today. As of today, my boys are the reason I run.