Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why I Run: To Set an Example

I run to set an example for my kids.  I want them to see running as not only an activity that improves my health, but as one of the ways I take care of myself.  I brush my teeth, I visit my OB annually, I run; in all of these ways, I take care of me.

My kids watch me as I spend most of my day taking care of others: fixing meals, patching up skinned knees, settling arguments, folding laundry.  But when I put on my running shoes, they know that I'm heading out for some personal time.  When I come back, I'm hot and sweaty, but I'm also relaxed and refreshed.

I want my kids to know that taking care of themselves is just as important as taking care of others.  Not in a narcissistic way, but if we do not care for ourselves, what could we possibly offer to anyone else?  A broken foundation can do little to support its surrounding structure.  Since I feel like the foundation for my family, I know that I need to care for myself, and I want my kids to learn this lesson, too.

Running is the mortar that helps hold the bricks of my foundation in place.

Though they are only 2- and 4-years-old, I think running is starting to infiltrate their lives.  They point out passing runners when we are in the car, and they hold races in our backyard all the time.  They joined me as we cheered for my husband at his first 5k earlier this summer, cheering not only for their dad but also for all the other runners who passed our corner.

Even if running does not become their lifelong habit, I hope they find something to do that is just for them.  Perhaps it will be music, woodworking, poetry, or cycling.  I don't care what it is.  I just hope that they find it and cherish it as much as I do running.