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Running seems to be a theme for me lately, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I participated in my very first 5k on Sunday. It wasn’t exactly my idea. I don’t really like to exercise that much, and when I do, I prefer gentle exercise like yoga or Pilates. All that jumping around that people do in Zumba or step aerobics class really doesn’t appeal to me. However, I do occasionally go for a mile or two around our local high school track (it has a great low-impact surface), and for the past few years, I’ve been taking my son with me.

The first few times I brought him, he ran around the track once, and then ran to play on the nearby playground, but as he got older, he’s started to enjoy running – now he outpaces me and could easily go a few laps more – he’s not even out of breath when I’m panting and chugging from my water bottle.

Sooo, at his urging we decided to enter the local 5k race sponsored by the Westport Women’s Club. The proceeds go towards a variety of local charities, so I was happy to contribute – even if at the last minute we decided to blow it off.

But we did it. And it was exhilarating. We started slow – pacing ourselves along with the pack, but about halfway through, he was ready to break away and that’s the last I saw of him until I approached the finish line. Before the race, we had determined a spot where we would meet if we became separated, and as I came around the corner, I searched for him in the crowd and saw him standing at our meeting place waiting for me.

There he was, my little boy. As soon as he spotted me he started yelling, “GO MOM! YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP GOING!” as he ran along the side-lines, keeping pace with me. I crossed the finish line and he proudly gave me a huge hug. That was such a moment for me. Usually, I’m the one cheering him on; at school, at baseball, basketball, karate…encouraging him to keep going and reinforcing that he “can do it” in the myriad of little things that he does every day. Now, here he is, finishing a full three minutes before me and cheering me on.

There’s something incredible about your kid being much better than you at something. It’s a whole new level of parental awe that brings a different degree of mutual respect and understanding to the parent-child relationship – a peek into how I hope we will relate to each other in 10 or 15 years. But for now, we have a new goal – he wants to start training for the 10k!


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