“I’m going to bring him over by you before heading to baseball practice”.
I was sitting at my desk on a Wednesday afternoon talking to my husband. My oldest son had baseball practice that evening, my daughter had dance, which meant the “him” my husband was talking about was my youngest son. A notorious Mama’s boy, he wanted to come with me instead of carting around his siblings.
Can’t say I blame him there.
“Okay, that’s fine.” I said.
There was just one problem. It was my running night.
This week is my last training week for my first 5K which I’m doing this Saturday. I was on night two of my last week of training and with the 5K literally a few days away I had to get out there and get my run in.
So how could I do this with my youngest child in tow?
Typical Mommy workout dilemma… working out with kids!
My son walked into my office and immediately started to eat the Starburst jellybeans he stashed at my office, which thankfully because I don’t eat sugar much anymore are safe and sound on my shelf.
“Hey, we’re going to go on a run tonight!” I said half excited, half how the hell are we going to do this.
“Can I ride my bike?”
That’s it! The bike! That would be the perfect solution, he could ride, I could run.
Of course it wasn’t a perfect solution, he had just recently taken his training wheels off last fall so I wasn’t exactly sure he was ready for a long bike ride without stopping. But, hey I had to get the run in and he was with me. So, we had to try.
I thought about what path we could take. I didn’t want to go my normal running path because there are a ton of crossing streets, and I’d spend the majority of my time worrying about him crossing ahead of me than focusing on my running. I couldn’t go through the park near our house, as it was so hilly, and that wouldn’t be good for either of us.
So the two of us made plans to go down by the Mississippi River and ride along down there. I knew it was flat and no crossing streets. My friend confirmed for me that that was the best place to go as both my son and I would have good terrain for our workout.
Working out with your 6 year old has certain challenges and so I wanted to address those up front. We went to Target to grab a bag that I could attach to his bike to carry a drink and a snack. I knew he’d want that, and I didn’t think he’d wear a backpack. It worked perfectly!
While we drove home I explained to him that once I start my run, I have to keep running 2.75 miles without stopping, so he’d have to keep going and not stop for breaks. I told him that we would stop after we hit the 2.75 miles and he could sit down, get a drink and snack break and then we would head back and could go at a slow pace and stop where he wanted (i.e. stop to get the Pokemon that I knew he would want to hunt on the way). Even as I said these words I doubted he could do it. I kept thinking he’d stop after 2 seconds telling me he was tired.
I reminded him to grab his helmet, a sweatshirt, and take a potty break and then we loaded his bike in my van.
Before we started we snapped a picture to capture the Mommy/Son moment.
I started with my warm-up walk. He started his ride and listened to me when I reminded him to stay in his lane on the bike path. Suddenly it was time to run and I gave him a warning “Ok Mommy is going to start running, you ready for this?” I asked.
“Are you ready for it?” He smiled.
Well played, son, well played.
I started to jog and he picked up his pace a bit. I was so happy that my pace was perfect with his riding pace. He was the perfect distance ahead, not too far, not too close that I feared tripping over him. Like a little pace car, he kept a nice easy pace, I turned on my music and we went.
My little 6 year old did not complain once, did not stop once, did not ask any questions or have to go to the bathroom. He just rode. Not a wobble, not a swerve. And with him there, I focused more on what he would do than worrying about if I was tired or becoming winded.
I felt great on the run. Perfect weather, perfect company.
When I had about a mile to go, I told him to turn around and we’d head back. I told him “We’ve got about a mile left buddy” and he smiled confidently “I’m not tired Mommy”.
He looked back from time to time and encouraged me… “Come on Mommy” he said as I ran.
We hit 2.75 and I checked my watch for my stats. I actually had my best time ever following behind his bike. 9.18 a mile, a tad faster than my pace without him. I excitedly showed him our pace and what he accomplished. He smiled and said “Can you tell Hayden?”
Yes, when you are a little brother, these moments must be shared with the big brother.
We stopped at a bench on the river and had a drink and snack break. I was so proud of him. “We did it kiddo!” I said excitedly.
He smiled proudly, opened his drink and snack crackers and sat down.
We took about a 10 minute break sitting along the river, talking Pokemon, talking school. I don’t get much one on one time with my kids, so this was a perfect moment in time that I got to be with my baby, who before I know it will no longer be a baby. Well technically I guess he’s not now, but you know how it is with your youngest.
“Are you going to run again?”
“AGAIN? Dude I just ran 2.75 miles!”
“You can do it Mom”. He said.
Now my pace car was my trainer. I did a quick survey of my body, felt pretty good, not winded, not too sore. My problem hip felt okay.
“Sure. I’ll see if I can run another mile. But you have to help me! I need you to keep the pace again!”
He smiled and jumped up knowing he had a job to do!
He climbed on his bike, cheered me on, slowed his pace a little as I was going slower, but then sped it up to keep me moving.
I realized as I ran, how awesome it was that I was sharing this with him. We were out and about getting exercise together, not sitting at home watching Minecraft videos, like we used to do before this journey started. He was there, listening to me breathe heavy as I ran, watching me sweat, and watching me continue to run even when I was slowing down. This is the Mom I wanted to be for him, setting good examples, spending quality time with him, and enjoying each other’s company.
That night I finished 3.75 miles total. The longest run I’ve ever done by far, with the fastest time. And I did it all with my son in tow.
I think I have found my new running partner!