This weekend, we participated in a St. Patrick’s Day 5k. Since Jason and I only do a select few races each year, we like to pick the races that are slightly more fun for our kids to join in. Running with a 6 year-old and a 4-year-old can be challenging, but we have mastered the divide and conquer method for each race. I typically run with Shane (the 4-year-old) in a jogging stroller and Jason and Chase (the 6-year-old) will run together. We still manage to do pretty well all things considered plus the kids have fun with it.
One of the reasons that I love running as a family is because of the healthy habits that I hope my kids are absorbing through the process. I was a fairly inactive slightly chubby child/teen. I didn’t like physical activity (….but I did really like food) and this just led to bad habits that developed at a young age that stuck with me through my teens. Knowing what it is like to have an unhealthy relationship with food and activity, I don’t want this for my kids, but I also don’t want to force it on them. I want my children to be able to make their own informed choices with my guidance, of course. It’s easier said than done, but it’s why we like to bring our kids with us on the more family friendly races. We wan to make exercise fun for them and hopefully they create a positive association with it. (Plus they think it is fun to run with grown-ups.)
So how did the race go? Well for starters, we all finished together! I didn’t expect to do very well pushing Shane in the jogger, but I surprised myself. Late last week I broke one of my pinky toes when my foot came crashing down on a stool (million dollar baby style) as I was taking off a pair of jogger style sweatpants….dont ask. On top of the broken toe, I caught the end of winter virus that has been going around and it’s been lingering deep in my lungs for the last week. To my surprise during the race, Shane and I quickly caught-up with Jason and Chase within the first half mile.
Once we were all together, we stuck together. Chase went a little too fast his first mile racing another little boy, and needless to say the last mile of the race was pretty tough for him. With some significant coaching, he made it the whole race without stopping, and all four of us crossed the finish line together (even Shane got out of the stroller for the last .10 mile). The boys were both so pleased with themselves as they finished the race. Running has done so much for me the last few years and I hope that the boys learn that there is so much to be gained from it.