Our New Runner

A few months ago, sometime in the fall, Jackson started going for short runs on our cul-de-sac. He’d throw on his shoes and go. We didn’t prompt him, and we never suggested it. We certainly didn’t tell him to start getting this type of exercise. He had already been going to the gym with me – his first request upon turning 14 years old and therefore being allowed on the exercise machines. He loved the gym from the start, but it was sometime after we’d gotten into that groove when he started going on short runs.

Jackson has been watching me train for and run half marathons his whole life. He’s watched his brother play soccer and his dad stay in shape through exercise and activity for both personal and professional reasons. We’ve always been an active family, and while Jackson hasn’t been opposed to an active life, he’s never latched onto a specific sport he could play on his own.

Until now.

We realized he was running almost every day, and he kept asking to run on different roads around our house so he could go further (the cul-de-sac got old quick). Once we realized how serious he was about running, I decided to inquire about cross country at the high school we’re zone for.

After a positive and encouraging conversation with the cross country coach, I told Jackson he was welcome to join the cross country team in August. A big grin came across his face, and he sprang to his feet ready to announce to the world that he was a cross country runner. That same day, he and I (and Major) ran a 5K together.

We downloaded Map My Run onto his phone, and we’ll be spending a little extra money in the coming weeks to buy proper running shoes (instead of buying basic $30 sneakers per usual). We’ll follow the cross country team’s summer running schedule, and in August, we’ll start driving him to the high school down the street to join the team for training.

With the coach’s permission, we went to the school last week so Jackson could see what it’s like to run on the track. (I ran stadiums while he ran – holy cow. My calves are still sore.) He used the Map My Run app to track his time. He knows he has work to do, but he’s ready to join the team and put in the time.

I couldn’t be prouder, and while I wish I’d thought of this idea earlier, I’m glad he came to it naturally, all on his own. This whole process has been self-led, which is exactly what we want to see in our kids, right? Taking charge, doing the work, not needing us to poke them with sticks to get out of bed and DO SOMETHING.

He hasn’t yet started cross country *officially*, but I’m already beaming with pride. I love seeing my kids chase the things they want. I love hearing Jackson say, “I’m going for a run!” with absolutely no prompting whatsoever. I’m trying to temper my dreams here because I’ve already gone down the road of wondering if and when we could run a half marathon together.

Whatever comes of Jackson’s new hobby, we’ve praised him thoroughly for working hard to achieve something he wants all on his own. We are so proud!