Running with children

The ten year old and I, we’ve been training for Sunday’s Mother’s Day 5K for almost two months. We began, thanks to the highly approachable Couch to 5K program, by alternating jogging for 60 seconds and walking for 90 seconds and have graduated (7 weeks later) to running for 28 minutes continuously. Though we won’t have completed the whole program by the time race day arrives, I’m hoping that so-called ‘race day adrenaline’ kicks in and propels us across the farther-than-we’ve-ever-run finish line.

‘What if we came in 1st, 2nd or 3rd,’ the Gort mused on Saturday. It was the second time he’d raised the ‘possibility’ during one of our mother-son runs. Though I did not want to be a killjoy, dreamsquasher, naysayer, I felt obligated to adjust his expectations.

‘Yeah, that’s not going to happen,’ I cut to the chase. ‘We’re running with a lot of people, and the people who win these types of races run really fast.’ ‘Yeah, but it would still be nice if we won,’ he refused to let the dream die.

And who knows, maybe he’s right. Maybe, by some apocalyptic, snowball’s chance in Hades, all the fast, well-trained runners will decide to stay home on Sunday; allowing us ‘regular’ people, running 5Ks thrice as slowly, to come in first.

It could happen.

Of course, the most noteworthy aspect of our run on Saturday was not the Gort’s dream about crossing the finishing line first. No, it was the fact that – despite the date being May 3 – we were running in snow. We’d run in snow a couple of times, back in March or was it the beginning of April, and the novelty wore off quickly. I was happy to check it off my non-existent bucket list; content not to have another go at it.

And certainly not on the 3rd of May.

On Instagram, one of my go-to hashtags is #wintersevenmonthsoftheyear. Because that, is the reality of living in Calgary: October, November, December, January, February, March and April. Count ’em up people, it’s seven months of wintry weather.

But on Saturday, as one of my friends pointed out, it officially changed to #wintereightmonthsoftheyear.

Which begs the question: is it worth living in a place if you only like its weather 4 months of the year?

But this was supposed to be about running.

‘Should we do our run,’ the Gort asked mid-morning. ‘Yeeeeeeah, I’m not sure,’ I hedged. Thoroughly unwilling to run in snow for the third time in the same decade year.

A few hours later, he asked again. ‘Do you want to go for a run?” Because he’d gotten running shoes the day before and was dying to use them.

Having been thoroughly sedentary all day, and convinced that no other decent mother would turn down her son’s (second!) request for a run, I relented.

We ventured outside and within two minutes, the Gort had changed his mind. ‘Maybe we could just do a short run today.’ But I’d already gone to the trouble of getting dressed and the forecast wasn’t looking any better for Sunday. Or Monday. So we powered through at a snail’s pace with me trying to figure out a way to keep my sweatshirt hood on my (hatless) head and he trying to cover his (gloveless) hands with his jacket sleeves. At some point, while we trudged along 26th avenue, I realized that the ‘lightly falling’ snow was actually more of the heavy, pelting variety. And I glanced forlornly at the little black timer in my hands, wishing the numbers to be different than they were.

‘How much longer,’ the Gort despaired. And I told him. ‘What?! It feels like we’ve been running forever.’


Eventually we made it back to the little white house and summoned the professor to document our achievement. The upside of running in the cold, I discovered upon looking in the mirror, is that my usual I’m-about-to-die, beet-red, post-run-face had been replaced with a slightly more benign rosy color.

Wintereightmonthsoftheyear has its benefits, I suppose.




2 thoughts on “Running with children

  1. I am just impressed you actually, you know, USED, the ‘Couch to 5K’ app instead of just eagerly downloading it and then ignoring it.

    1. Downloading it shows intent Vicky. Isn’t intent 9 tenths of the law? Oh wait, it’s possession. Same thing.


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