Last week I did not love running. Not really sure if I even liked running last week. That type of week has happened before and I know it will happen again. That means I also know the good runs will come back, but waiting for them is never easy. Thankfully the last couple of runs have been so much better, and I am not really referring to speed or distance. These last runs have just felt better, like my body wanted to be back at it.
This past Saturday I got back to the life of a happy runner. My 10 year old son is running with me once a week to start training for the Ottawa Race Weekend 5k. I am really excited about this because he is really excited. He has been running short races now for several years, mostly 1 and 3k’s. But this year he is showing a new enthusiasm and a desire to improve his running. Realistically I know this may pass, but right now he is keen and I can’t help but enjoy it the way any parent does when he or she can share an interest with a child.
So my son and I set off for a short run on Saturday in a wet snow/rain. I told him we would do 2 or 3 k and he quickly asked to do 4. I have to be honest, I had no interest in running more than 3k that day. I was still in a running slump and not really loving the idea of being in the cold and damp any longer than necessary. We headed out in a suburban neighbourhood and I let my son take the lead. With the exception of races, all of my son’s running has been done in his school yard or on our rural roads. He is a country boy and as a result not really used to wandering the sidewalks and roads of the suburbs. As we started the run he found a small a paved path between houses that led to more paths linking streets and green spaces. He sought out these paths with the excitement of an explorer in a new land and I think at times he forgot that he was running. Every time we passed someone he gave them a big smile and an enthusiastic wave. His enthusiasm was hard to ignore and slowly, despite the damp and previous bad runs, I too had a smile on my face. I had to convince him to turn back so we wouldn’t be too far from the car. At 3k I told him we could stop if he wanted but he said he wanted to stop at 3.5k. When we hit that goal he said we were so close, why not just go for 4k. And so we did. He was tired at the end but beaming that he had done his longest run of 2013. As for me, I was reminded that it doesn’t all have to be about times and mileage, sometimes it is just about being out there, checking out new paths and getting ourselves moving.
I didn’t let the lesson go to waste. The following day I was out on my own and had such an enjoyable run. It was my slowest pace ever and I didn’t run as far as I planned. But I found some interesting routes, did some short steep hills and went back and forth on a winding, packed snow path through the woods. Was it what I should have been doing to prepare for my half marathon in three weeks? Maybe not, but mentally, it was the prefect run.