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Yesterday I ran the Scotiabank Marathon Jr with my son – a 5k race that was part of the larger Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon.  The opportunity to do this came through my son’s school – all fall, as part of their cross country program, the boys have been recording the distances they have run, with the idea being that by the time they had finished they would have run a total distance equal to that of a full marathon.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a natural runner.  My running technique is suspect at best (I’ve been compared to a kangaroo when I run . . . and that’s not a good thing), and running long distances have never been my forte.

But something about this challenge captivated my son, and he was extremely keen to get out and “practice” his running.  So as we’ve been out running over the past few weeks, racking up kilometres for school and for our Hogwarts Running Club medal, we’ve both had a chance to improve on our running.

I mentioned in my last post about running with my son, how I loved that he talked to me throughout our runs, and the kinds of things he would share with me as we ran.

But yesterday, as we ran what was the first official running race for both of us, I found a lot more to love, and I learned a few lessons along the way too.

I loved the excitement and enthusiasm that my son went into this race with – there were no nerves, no pre-race jitters, just a sense that we were about to do something fun, despite the fact that what we were about to do was run a 5k race, a distance which he had never run in one shot before.

I loved that he was comfortable enough to tell me when he needed to slow down and have a bit of a break.  He didn’t push himself to the breaking point . . . he knew when he needed to slow down, and when he was ready to pick the pace back up again.

I loved the gentleness in my voice as I encouraged us both along the course.  Phrases like “you’re doing great” and “look how well we’ve done so far” were offered often, and were truly heartfelt.

Reflecting on all of this made me think – what if I faced my challenges in life with excitement and enthusiasm?  What if worked better on pacing myself, not in the gym, but in life – slowing down when I need to, but also picking up the pace when I can?  What if I was gentler with myself, and truly accepted the encouragement that’s given to me?  Wouldn’t life feel so much better if we lived a little more like that???

I’d be remiss, though, if I didn’t mention what might be my MOST favourite part of the race yesterday – seeing my son’s face light up when he saw that he could have Gatorade at the water station (“Really mom, I can have Gatorade???”).  And his excitement when he got to just toss the empty cup on the street – apparently he threw it just like Bautista . . .

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And now I can’t wait until we can do our next race together . . . and maybe even get the little one involved too!

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