Yesterday all four of us headed to the park. The plan was that I would run three miles while my husband played on the playground with the kids. Next my husband would run four miles while I played with the kids. Our plan was a good one, but sometimes plans need altered.
When we got to the park I optimistically started stretching and got ready to hit the trail. My son’s eyes were on me. I could almost hear them saying, But I don’t want you to run. I want to run with you. In the past I would have sternly told him that he could not run with me because I liked being alone while I ran.
He soon verbalized what I knew he was thinking. I hesitated, then changed my mind about doing what I always do and telling him no. Maybe it has something to do with my realization that Kindergarten is right around the corner and we’ll be spending less time together, but primarily I think it was because I am feeling better and I am able to attend to him with more care than I have been able to lately.
The healthier I feel the more I realize that, in the past, I have overcompensated for my mental illness by controlling and perfecting other aspects of my life — running being one of them.
Once I decided to throw my three-mile-run-in-solitude plan to the wayside, my whole outlook changed. My husband wandered off after my daughter who headed to the play ground on her tricycle, and my son and I set off down the trail to attempt a one-mile run together.
Instantly I could see how hard he was trying to run because he wanted to go at my pace. Of course, I knew he’d never sustain my pace or be able to run a whole mile without a few breaks.
With newfound happiness, I altered my expectation for the days exercise plan due to neck pain. I taught him how to pump his arms and extend his stride. I taught him how important it is to pace himself during his one-mile attempt with me. I coached him on looking ahead and not behind himself when he ran. (more…)