For the last few weeks, since I began running, my kids have been asking to go with me. Normally I run during nap-time. The Husband works at home, so he can just open his office door to hear if there is an emergency. The kids are always asleep, and it only takes me about ½ an hour, so I’m always back before they wake up. It works well for us. Anyway.
The kids keep asking to ride their bikes while I run, so on Saturday I convinced The Husband to come with and walk. That way if there was a problem with the kids he could help and it wouldn’t affect my running. We drove to a long, quiet gravel road and unloaded the bikes. It was at this point that we realized how windy it was. The Husband asked if we should maybe wait for a different day, but I insisted that it wasn’t that bad and I would be fine. I was going to walk/run a mile away from the van, then turn around and come back.
Off we started. Running/Riding/Walking WITH the wind. I was starting week three of Couch to 5K, and I was pretty worried about the first 3 minute long run. I haven’t run that long without stopping since high school (over ten years ago!). You can imagine my excitement when I made it and was barely out of breath. “I’ve got this no problem!” I thought to myself. I did the three minute walk and then it was time to turn around.
Book Girl had kept up with me the whole time and was the full mile away from the van with me. The younger two and The Husband were only about 2/3 of the mile in. Book Girl and I turned around and realized the trouble we were in. A mile away from the van, and the wind was so strong I could barely walk. Book Girl couldn’t keep her bike up without falling over; she couldn’t get going fast enough. Up ahead I could see The Husband and kids turning around.
I was able to run the first 90 seconds and still feel okay, often turning around to encourage a very upset Book Girl. When it came time to walk again, I walked BACK to her, and told her to just get off the bike and push it. She was just about in tears she was so upset.
I walked beside her for just a moment, and then I needed to do the second 3 minute run. I got one minute in and felt like I was going to die. The wind was so strong that even running I was barely getting anywhere. I could see ahead that the younger kids were putting their bikes on the side of the road to be picked up later with the van. I stopped running and yelled back to Book Girl to do the same. It took over a minute for her to understand me.
I took off running again and as I came up to The Husband he yelled against the wind that I would reach the van first and handed off the keys as I passed. Now it was really on me. Off I went at a run.
At that point I was still hoping to save my run. I ran for just about two minutes, wanting to make up the three that were messed up. I looked behind and saw The Husband carrying Zip Girl and Busy Boy down the street, with Book Girl trudging alongside him. All I could think was “My poor kids”. And so, without having caught my breath yet, I took off again.
I ran at a sprint, but moved at a marathon pace. I couldn’t catch my breath because the wind was so strong. It felt like I was hyperventilating. I had to put my hand over my mouth and nose to stop the wind and try to get some air in my lungs.
Did I mention that it was cold wind? Yeah. Those of you in the south maybe don’t know this, but when the air is really cold your nose gets really runny. Not fun.
So I’m running down the street at a sprint, but moving very slowly. I can’t catch my breath and I’m hyperventilating. My nose is runny, I have nothing to wipe it with, and the wind is blowing it all over my face. Snotty mess. And the kicker is that the wind was stinging my eyes so badly I couldn’t see anything. And even if I could, the van was over multiple hills ahead of me, so I wouldn’t have been able to see it anyway.
I wanted to quit. I can’t remember the last time I felt so miserable. So horrible. But that wasn’t an option. My kids were behind me and I knew that they were cold, and snotty, and their eyes probably hurt too. They had to leave their bikes behind. I had to get to the van to help my kids out. My poor kids.
So I alternated between sprinting and walking just long enough to not pass out before sprinting again. Going up that last hill I thought I would die. I chose weeds on the side of the road to focus on so that I could see myself progressing, looking down helped my eyes to not hurt so much. I thought the whole way up that as soon as I got to the top of the hill I would be back at the van.
The van was over another block away. But this time it was downhill, so a bit easier than before. I gave it one last sprint and I made it. I got in the car, turned around quickly, and went back for my family.
As soon as I got over the hill again I could see The Husband. One kid in each arm and Book Girl clinging to his back. My dear, sweet husband was carrying all three of our lovely children to protect them from the wind that they couldn’t even walk in. We quickly got everyone in the van, picked up the bikes, and went home.
On the way home The Husband made a very astute point that I’ve been thinking about a lot these last few days since the run. If you are someone who does not have a lot of self-discipline (link to his favorite poem), then make yourself have it. His point was that if I had been on a normal run, the kids would not be motivating me to run at the end, and I would have been less than a mile from home at any given point. Without my self-discipline I could have easily opted to stop early, or simply walk. And realistically, that day I wanted nothing more than to just give up, but it was not an option. The van is not going to magically bring itself to me. I had to keep going, whether I wanted to or not. Whether it was too hard or not. There was no other way for me to get back to the kids and get them home.
Today I challenge you. What is something that you have wanted, but lacked the willpower to make happen? What can you do to take away your control of the situation? Maybe it is with your eating. If you can’t stop yourself from eating those cookies, take the temptation away. Bring them next door and give them to your neighbor. Maybe it’s with running. Have your husband (or a friend) drop you off and drive a mile away and pull over to wait for you. Maybe you just can’t seem to get a savings account started. Set up an automatic withdrawal from your checking account every month (most banks will do this for free).
If you want change, you have to make it happen. And even if you don’t have the motivation or willpower to make it happen, you can find a way to force it. IF that’s what you really want. If it helps you to make your commitment public, or you want to come back later and share your victories, I would love the comments below
I’ve promised my kids we will try again on a day that is not so windy. I’m just thankful they are willing to give it a second chance. That is exactly the example I am trying to set for them and am so thankful that they are picking it up for themselves. When they are adults I hope they won’t ever have to force themselves to do something just because it is the right choice, that their self-discipline just makes it a reality.
Smile and have a great day!