The Road Never Travelled

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2/21/16

I started this week with a desire to share some of my fun on the road with my kids. I’d had a great time gaining perspective on our little road through my runs and thought it would be a lot of fun for my kids to explore the neighborhood in a similar way. My son had been my cheerleader this whole time, and I thought it would be a great mother-son activity to take a little walk.
We got home early one evening, and I asked my son if he’d like to go for a walk. His smile and enthusiasm blew me away. I decided in that moment that if nothing else came from my training except that it prompted me to get outside with my son, then it was entirely worth it. He wanted to do the whole thing: get on his tennis shoes, carry my phone, listen to our favorite songs and go for a walk. It didn’t take long (less than a half mile) for him to ask me why there was so much trash on our road. I told him people threw it out, but they should have. With the innocence and seriousness only a child can have, he asked me why they wouldn’t wait to get home like we did and if we could pick it up the next time we went walking. I was blown away by my little man’s maturity and his willingness to jump right in and help solve a problem. I quickly, without hesitation, agree that we could pick it up on our next walk. The fact that we had just made another mother-son date didn’t escape me either.
We finished that walk at 2.37 miles. I couldn’t believe he made it as far as he did and certainly didn’t except to get to share with him some important lessons about taking care of our environment and making plans to give back.
That weekend, I expanded my route beyond my road for the first time.  I’d become fairly comfortable with running my road and thought it was time to branch out.  I used google maps to measure the distance and mapped a new route for 6 miles. It still took me mostly down roads that I drove every day, but I was excited to learn a little bit more about my neighborhood in the way you only can on a run.  The route I chose started with a steep hill and would let me make a big loop to end at my house.

As I made my first turn to leave my road, I remember wondering what people would think when they saw me since part of my route went down a pretty main road.  It was strange to be on the other side, not driving past the runner but being the one facing down cars and waving as others hurried off to their appointments.  It really made me reflect on how busy my life normally was, and the slow down on the road with just me and my thoughts was actually a pretty welcome relief.  I am still very early in my journey and there were times during that run that I was faced with unanticipated hills, but I came to the conclusion that as long as I knew how I started and knew how I ended, that I would be OK.

The long distance and my walk with James gave me another rule for my runs: “You might always know how you are going to start out a run and finish it, but the challenges in between are what provide the room for you to grow.”

6.01 miles, 1:32:26, 15’23” pace

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