Friday, March 08, 2024


My big kids aren't home right now. Rachel took herself, Miriam, Benjamin, and Zoë to a games night at the church. Andrew and I stayed home with the little kids. 

This isn't Rachel's first time driving by herself. She's been driving to pick Grandpa up every morning since Wednesday, and driving back home from his house alone. On Wednesday after driving Miriam to organ (with Grandpa sitting as navigator), Rachel decided to take her car on a drive to the church, just to rip the bandaid off. 

She also drove herself to co-op on Thursday so that she could leave after teaching the nursery class. 

And then this evening she took her siblings to games night. 

So basically, Rachel can drive to church independently. And that's a great start!


Benjamin, Miriam, and I have been running quite a bit since the fall. At first only Benjamin and I were going, but then Miriam made running a goal of hers for her psychology class?? So she had to start running with us. 

But the thing is that she hates running (or so she says). 

Any time I push her, she pushes back harder breaks down sobbing.

"Let's only run one mile today," she'll say.

"Let's go for two," I'll say.

Next thing I know she'll be hyperventilating and bawling her eyes out while running...up the driveway. 

It was driving me nuts because it's not even like I run very fast. I don't. And I know this because today I took the kids on a 5k run and my time was 32:29 (they actually rolled in after me), which felt like a decent run.

But, back in 2010 my time was 24:42 for the same distance. That's pretty fleet!

Granted, that was a race pace and the runs I've been doing recently are just little training runs...and a few things have changed since 2010: I'm, ya know, older. I've birthed four more children. And I've put on a number of pounds since then (believe it or not).

But also, I more or less ran that 5k race cold. Like, I went running a few times after we moved back from Cairo and then I was like, "A 5k—why not?!"

I've been running for months now...with a rather significant break in December/January when it was cold and we had company and another significant break in February when we had COVID. So we're just starting up again after that.

Anyway, all this is to say that a 30+ minute 5k still sounds slow to me...and yet it feels hard (though part of what might be so hard is dragging the kids across the finish line).

Last time we ran, I paused at a corner one mile into our run and gave Miriam a long lecture about breathing. No one can run while hyperventilating. Just standing there, breathing as fast as she had been breathing (to show her how shallow and ineffective her breaths were) was making me feel lightheaded and awful (and I told her so). Instead she should stand up tall, breathe down into her belly to fill her lungs all the way up, and then exhale completely so she can take a nice, deep breathe of new air all the way down into her lungs. 

"Breathe in for three or four strides, and then out for three or four strides," I told her. "And if you start feeling winded sometimes what you really need to do is a big exhale (not extra inhales). Get all the air out of your lungs so that they can refill with fresh air."

The whole time she was pouting and glaring and giving me gorilla arms. If looks could kill...I tell you...

The second mile from our last run was...not great.

But early this afternoon we set off on a run and—I tell you!—Miriam took off like a shot. 

Benjamin and I stayed behind, rationalizing that she'd tire herself out on the hill (we live at the bottom of a hill and to get out of our neighbourhood we have to climb the hill, so all our runs start out with a good climb). She didn't. She powered through the hill and she didn't stop to recover at the top (which she ordinarily does). Instead she ran the flat road and all the way down the hill and around the corner and...

I'm not sure how long she ran for, precisely, but I was chasing her the whole time! I couldn't catch up with her! 

Finally she stopped to walk for a bit and I caught up to her there and then breezed right on by because I could tell from my watch that I was set for a 9-minute mile! Still slow, but exciting for me at this point in my running career. 

"What happened?!" I asked her when she and Benjamin caught up to me on my recovery/waiting for kiddos pace. 

"I just focused on my breathing like you told me to," she shrugged. "Turns out running is easier than I thought!"

And then she took off, leaving me in the dust again. Thanks a lot, kid! 

Our second mile went fairly smoothly. The third mile was rougher and the kids needed some more encouragement to keep moving.

"Come on," I'd cheer for them. "This is an easy pace!"

Wait. Perhaps that's more trash-talking than it is an encouraging speech. But I also say things like, "You've got this!" and "Remember to exhale!" and "Keep going! You can do it!"

But I also say things like...well...

We were running through this one neighbourhood and the kids were seriously lagging behind, which is ridiculous because—again—I'm not running fast here. 

"Come on, wimp-a-doodles!" I hollered at them as a jogged backwards/sideways. "Let's run!"

They stumbled and slouched and dangled their little gorilla arms. And I'm sure they were moaning and groaning. But they started running. 

I turned back around and...that's when I saw a man sitting in his driveway. He had a whole little outdoor office set up happening—a table with a laptop, a steaming cup of coffee. 

"Oh, hi!" I said, shocked to see someone outside...someone who'd just witnessed me call my children wimp-a-doodles (a grave insult!). 

I offered him an embarrassed wave and then turned over my shoulder and holler-sang, "I mean...come along, darling children!"

The man chuckled and gave me a little salute. 

And then I half-dragged the children back home (and half left them in the dust because I was tired of coaxing them to keep going). But! they both made it home eventually! And Miriam was thrilled by her pace for her first mile (which was right around 10 minutes) and that she was able to run 2-miles and have it feel easy. She really did have a great run!

Obviously I have a lot of work to do if I ever want to get back to clocking 8-minute miles, but for today I'm pretty happy with one 9-minute mile (and a couple of other slower miles).


Also, I'll just add that Benjamin is a little over halfway through his mileage goal in his little "Hermit Crab Hustle" challenge. In addition to struggling to get my kids to run (1) at all or (2) at a decent pace, I struggle to get them to (3) tackle any sort of distance with me. 

But! last Saturday (through a series of harmless deceptions) I got Benjamin to run five miles with me. And he did great! So hopefully we'll be able to get some other longer runs in. 

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