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Leading By Example

This morning I told Clay that I was leaving for a race soon and I would see him this afternoon. He immediately had a huge smile on his face and said “oh mommy! I hope you win!!!” I thanked him but also said that I wasn’t doing it to win. But rather to spend time with a friend, support a great cause, and overcome my fear of running in a race. He asked me why I was afraid. This was a great question. I don’t really know why I have been afraid, but the thought of a running race has always made me feel suffocated. But despite that, today I ran in my first race, and when I came home I was able to tell him all about it and how it was wonderful and I truly had nothing to be worried about. I hope so very much that Clay remembers our conversations the next time he is nervous to participate in something.

Part of the reason I run is to be an example to them. I hope they grow up knowing that making time for physical activity is important and doable. It has not always been that way for me. I didn’t start running until I was in my 20s and even then it was sporadic. After becoming a mom at the age of 31 and gaining 65 pounds in my pregnancy, I wanted to get back in shape but had such a hard time finding time for activity with twin babies. So I started walking briskly with the kids in the stroller. Over time I wondered if I could do more. I added small 1 minute jogs into our walks every 5 minutes and then every three minutes. I would make it a fun game going fast and slow and fast and slow and the twin loved it!  Eventually I was alternating every minute and after a few weeks of this, all the minutes were spent running one day!

My first true 5 KM stroller run was HARD! I remember wondering if this was something that would ever seem doable as a regular thing. So I kept at it and by the time the twins were 18 months I was running 8-10 km with them in the stroller 4-5 times each week. I made sure we always had snacks and toys for them, a park destiation at the end, and music to listen to. We were in a great routine for a bit.

Then I became pregnant with Rhett and after gaining 55 pounds in that pregnancy I felt back at square one. And this time I was post VBAC and truly had to pee every 5 minutes. I decided that pelvic physio-therapy was the answer. It really worked well and when Rhett was about 9 months old I decided to once again start towards adding minutes of running into my walks. By the time he was 1 year old I was back to running 8-10 km 4-5 times each week. Sometimes I went on my own, sometimes with just Rhett in the stroller, and often with the twins in the stroller during Rhett’s nap time if my mom could be in the house with Rhett. It was a wonderful way to get fit again. But even more than that I found it helped with my mental health. It helped to clear my head from the noise of life. It allowed me time to pray and think and just be. Rhett is now 3.5 years old and this pace hasn’t changed. I still run 8-10 km 4-5 times each week and I love it! I find that if things come up to prevent me from running I feel almost suffocated. I love the fresh air. I love the quiet time or conversations with him about what we see in nature while running. And I love the way my energy levels are after I have run. Also, the boys love coming with me. I hope that soon they will be running along side me. I hope my example of making time for activity and finding a way to fit it into our busy life will stick with them  I hope they find their chosen type of activity and find a way to fit it in too at all life stages.

Our kids watch every single choice we make…

• TV time or activity outside

• Handful of crackers while supper is cooking or carrots and hummus

• Standing at the counter while eating or sitting down to enjoy

• Coke with your meal or a glass of milk or water

• Sitting on the sidelines or getting involved

So all this to say three main things…

  1. If you are looking for a great way to be active while being with your kids…brisk walking or running is a great option.
  2. If you are a runner and have never run a race, I would encourage you to try it. You may just find it isn’t so bad after all!
  3. Making choices that seem “selfish” may actually be a great way to model “self care” and healthy living to your kids!

Until next time…stay healthy!

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