Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

People. I have not been holding up my end of the bargain around here (i.e. actually writing) and I apologize! In part, my running life hasn’t been particularly interesting. In [another] part, I vowed this wouldn’t become a pregnancy blog and honestly, that part of my life has been sort of consuming. Still, I’ve resisted post after post after post because that’s not really what this little world is all about, or at least it wasn’t supposed to be.

I was thinking about it this morning, debating whether I really just don’t start ruminating until the middle or late miles of my usual runs pre-pregnancy or if my brain is actually just completely preoccupied right now, either with baby thoughts or don’t fall down mantras. Maybe 2 ½ or 3 ½ miles just isn’t long enough to get the juices flowing and synapses shooting?

Weekly 5Ks with my running club have been a really outstanding way to skip the thinking, minimize the hyper-concentration, and simply socialize on the go. They were right to classify the series as fun runs because they got it just right. After attending my first run or two earlier in the spring, I volunteered to bring water each Tuesday night in July as a sort of a personal guarantee that I’d show up. I love when tricking myself actually works because, wouldn’t you know it, I’m actually starting to recognize other runners each week!

The weather has been super muggy this week, but last night dipped below 80 at the start of the run (which has been my arbitrary personal threshold), so I counted myself in. I was a little anxious about the prospect of thunder and lightning because it was looking kind of dark (and in the end it held off), but no one else seemed concerned, so off we went.

One thing I’m really enjoying about these outings is how many parents I see running with their children. There are a couple of dads who push their kiddos in jogging strollers, a woman who pushes two toddlers in a double-jogger, and a handful of women who run alongside their elementary-aged children. It’s awesome and as I joked to one woman last night, it’s exactly what I’m trying to impose on our baby in utero. 

Two weeks ago there was a 13-time marathoner running alongside her son, who was probably 11 or 12. It was his first 5K. The course is unique in that it’s pretty hilly, with miles one and three both on inclines. The boy was trucking along with encouragement from his mom, alternately walking and running for the first mile. How are you feeling, she asked again and again. We can turn back at the first mile marker if you want. He continued and finished the run in about 40 minutes. They were back for a second try Tuesday and I asked if it felt easier this time around. He said it did, and that he usually played baseball and hockey, but wanted to try out running with his mom. His mom shared that she got her love for running from her father, which cracked her son up. Funny to picture your grandpa running, huh? I asked. Totally, he answered. Around the time we split up, the boy was telling his mom that he wanted to make it to the first mile marker without walking. I was pumped to see him meet his goal and, later in the night, take two or three minutes off his finishing time.

A second duo included a turbo-fit mama and her 8 or 9 year old daughter in matching outfits. I only really saw them from the start and finish, but the smile on the little girl’s face as she rounded the bend to the finish line, taking off from her mom to sprint to the end was absolutely priceless. Runners who had already finished gathered near the clock, cheering her in, and the confidence and joy on her face was something I hope will stay ingrained in my own memory. Her expression encompassed how much fun running is supposed to be, but also a look of accomplishment, pride, and unabashed happiness. It reminded me of the impact that sport, teamwork, and camaraderie can have in a child’s development.

Coincidentally, it’s a look I suspect I wore on my own face only minutes before. I passed the three mile marker and a couple of runners who had finished and were out running around with their kids. Bring it home, mama, one woman exclaimed. BIG smile! another encouraged, of the completely silly grin I know was spread from ear to ear. Two volunteers clapped as I turned the corner and the run coordinators and club members gathered at the clock cheered and encouraged me across the line. 

I felt so lucky to be out there and in such great company. 

No deep thoughts, no muddy diggers, but the very simple pleasure of getting outside to play.