Wednesday, July 23, 2014

My Most Important Mile

My favorite running gurus over at Another Mother Runner invite readers to submit entries for a regular column called "Most Important Mile of My Life."  Last fall, I submitted an entry and was elated that my post aired on their site in November.  My 15 minutes of fame!  You can read the original post on their site, and I'm also reproducing it here.


I’ve logged many significant miles: the joy of my first double-digit run, running through the frustration of a miscarriage, the terribly wonderful first postpartum run.  But my most important mile came during a 1-mile fun run with my kindergartener earlier this fall.

We were all smiles and excitement at the starting line, but our enthusiasm quickly diminished.  After about .2 miles, he had had enough.  He wanted to quit and kept telling me we were going too fast, even though our pace resembled a slug moving through quicksand.

Tears in his eyes and a forced smile on his face, but he was actually running for a moment.
We spent most of the mile walking with intermittent bursts of running.  "Just run to that tree," I begged him.  But no amount of cheering from me would get his feet moving faster than a shuffle.  I pleaded.  I cajoled.  For whatever reason, his heart was not into it.

With only .1 of a mile to go, he broke down in tears.  I showed him the finish line and promised him bagels and frozen custard after we crossed it, but he couldn't do it.  We sat on the curb crying for a few minutes until he finally regrouped enough to run the last stretch.

It was certainly not the run I had expected, but I learned a great deal about myself as a mother during that (painful, frustrating, slow) mile.  I had to set aside my type A desires and really stop to listen to my son.  That mile was about spending time with him, being patient with his frustrations, and persevering when we both would have preferred heading to the car and going home.

A few minutes after the race, he gave me a big hug and said, "Mommy, even though I cried a lot, I had fun running with you.  Can we do it again?"  

Of course, sweetheart.  Anytime.

Finally finished!