For most of my life, I’ve despised running. So no one is more surprised by my recent attraction to my treadmill than I am. I created my own interval training, running for 3 minutes and then walking for 2 minutes. When I’m feeling particularly strong, I add an incline to my run.
While on vacation, I had to venture outdoors since I couldn’t pack my treadmill. It was scary at first: What if people are out? What if they see how slow I run? What if they notice that I only run for 2-3 minutes at a time? I had to decide that I didn’t care what other people thought.
I don’t run for them anyways. I run for myself. I run because it clears my head, so I can think clearly about my day and my choices. I also run because I love food. Exercise allows me to increase my daily calories, which is unavoidable on vacation. Who even wants to diet when there’s zelnik (a flaky pastry with cheese and/or spinach) with almost every meal?
For everyday of my 3-week vacation I exercised. Some days I stayed in and did an exercise video, but most days I hit the road. It was a great way to take in my surroundings: With every step I enjoyed a beautiful suburb of Toronto with my cousin Suzan; every street of my old neighborhood had images of past friends and experiences; every cobblestone in downtown Portsmouth led to a beautiful and historical structure.
Every day I felt more and more like a runner. I felt stronger and healthier. I looked forward to my daily adventures and thought I was starting to experience that “runner’s high” people talked about. I have to admit, I was proud of myself.
One day while in Portsmouth my dedication to “running” was challenged when Ian decided he wanted to run with me. I was at first hesitant to allow him to join me because he complained about walking into town. How was he going to keep up with me?
We started our venture by walking and stretching. Ian was anxious to start our run.
“When are we running, Mom?”
I started my normal pace, and Ian took off like a shot. He was twenty feet in front of me before he turned around and asked:
“What are you doing?”
“I’m running,” I replied confused.
“Um, that’s not running, Mom.”
I stood corrected.
“I guess what I’m doing is more like jogging, bud.”
“Oh,” he waited for me to catch up with him. “I was nervous to run with you, but I can do this. Jogging is a lot easier.”
So that’s how the Emperor felt.
My 8-year-old son addressed all my fears of being judged . . . and it just made me chuckle. It didn’t change how I felt about myself or why I did it. He sort of shattered my illusion of being a runner, but that’s okay too. I’m not doing it for the title; I’m doing it for me.
With that said, it’s time for me to go out for a run . . . well, at least my version of running 🙂