Over the last several years I have done some (but not too much) prodding to get my children to go running with me. While they’re happy to go if it means getting out of doing something less desirable, I rarely hear that they want to go simply because they want to run with dad.
Inexplicably that changed a few weeks ago. While I was preparing for my Saturday run Eli asked if he could go with me. Knowing that he had never run more than a mile I told him that he could run the warm-up with me and we proceeded to run a one miler together (in about 14 minutes). I let him decide where we’d go and he chose to take us down to the river bottoms to do a little exploring. It was about a half-mile there so we jogged for a few minutes, explored for a few minutes, and then jogged home. It was quite enjoyable and Eli surprised me by running the entire way there (1/2 mile) and only having to walk up a couple of the hills on the way home.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Eli again spoke up as I was preparing for my long run that he would like to go. I said sure and planned on doing something comparable to what we did a couple of weeks ago. Natalie had just run 3-4 miles with a friend (the most she’s ever run) so apparently the “running bug” was in the air. We started out to the river bottoms and at the 1/2 mile mark Eli was going strong so we decided to keep going. Eli talked my ear off cover topics as diverse as Ninjago, what we should do when/if we go to China, how he’s going to create a sword that converts into a jet, how pretty the river is, etc. However, the bulk of our conversation centered on being able to run long distances. Eli made up his mind that he would be able to run four miles, which he claimed was double the distance any of his peers had ever run. I bought into this and told him we could try two today and then up our mileage next weekend. Once we hit the one mile mark we did a little exploring but Eli insisted he wanted to keep running so rather than turning around we kept running up the river banks. Eli showed no signs of slowing so I took him a full mile hoping we’d find another river crossing so we could get home. Well, no such crossing came so at two miles we turned around and headed home. We only had to stop one more time… a thirty second break at the bridge to look at the fish and catch our breath. From there we completed the four mile run. Eli completed the first 3.1 miles (his first 5k) in 48:22 and we did the four mile course in 1:00:33. I was amazed as he never seemed to slow and did not once complain of being tired, cold, or bored. We talked the whole time and had a great time being out in beautiful Wisconsin together. Next week he wants to go for eight… we’ll see how long this enthusiasm lasts.