Every runner who’s ever had a runner’s high knows it is one of the best sports in the world. It can be grueling and painful, yes, but the rewards we reap from running– especially once we’re in shape — pay big dividends. For those of us aging, ahem 40’s coming quick, and those of us trying to find ways to live longer, exercise is still likely the most influential thing we can do to promote the quality of our life and extend the years we get to witness our children grow. Nothing is a guarantee, of course, and I loved an article I read on Five Thirty Eight about the value of eating nuts for health and longevity that mentioned, “no matter how many nuts you eat, you’ll eventually die.” Yipes! Exercise is the good stuff, though. If you need pushing, be informed that recent data out of Canada shows that exercise may even improve the appearance of our skin and decrease wrinkling. Tah dah! It may be vanity that gets us out to pound the pavement.
But finding time and keeping healthy enough to keep up a rigorous running schedule amidst the whirls of child rearing and work? I have found it an exceedingly large challenge. When I was in medical school, I ran over 4-5 miles every day. Now a 4-5 mile run would be a freaking miracle day. Things are just busy.
Thankfully a cure-all has arrived…
It dawned on me last Friday that running, with my boy(s) while they bike alongside me, is perhaps the world’s most magical sport. Reason being, I never want to leave home after I return there from work. Even after a stressful day, I’d rather be with the boys after dinner time than out on my own exercising. And I’m one of those people who loves to run. I’ve still just not cracked the work-life balance code that would enable me feeling good about leaving the boys when I have the opportunity to stay with them after a whole day apart. Self care, with those emotions, becomes more complex. Heading out the door, just after finally getting home, never feels perfect. Do you know what I mean?
And here’s the thing. Although parents ahead of us on the child rearing road warn us about it all going too quickly and those same parents tell us to grasp onto our preschoolers because they’ll never be quite that cute again, let me tell you something right now: If your babies are young, if your toddler is entirely adorable (and a whole lot of work) today and if you haven’t been off and on a guilt-free run in years, there is hope. HOPE, I say!
Now that boys are both riding their bikes independently, a magical new sport has been spun.
Imagine this: sideways sunshine, clear paths, and a little biker just in front of me as I carry my body around the streets of Seattle and the park land. Yes, I think clearly yes, the world’s most perfect sport. These may be some of the most enjoyable and productive moments of my life…