Are the Kids Really Alright?

I admit it: I’m a selfish jerk. My wife refuses to believe this fact but it’s completely true. Sure, there are the seemingly selfless acts that I do most of the time that make me appear to be good, others-focused individual and heck, sometimes I even start to believe it myself. But, every now and then, something comes along to bring me right back to the realization that I’m utterly and completely self- absorbed. What did it this time was David Willey’s Editor Letter “Kids Are Alright” in April’s issue of Runner’s World.

In the article, he talks about some of the struggles that he faces while trying to be an active runner, an editor and a father, mentioning his desire to qualify for Boston along the way. He then tells of one particular occasion when he had to fit his workout into a timeframe of only 45 minutes and as he was walking out the door, his kids ran up to him expressing their desire to spend some quality time with dad on the road. And, in a display of what I can only call lunacy (though some deranged individuals would say he’s simply exercising good parenting skills), he succumbs to the cuteness and brings them along with him on his run. And, to make matters worse, this seems to be a regular occurrence. It’s gotten to the point where he’s put on something like 11 pounds and lost a significant amount of speed

As I read the article, I couldn’t help but wince as he told of time after time that he was forced to stop for important reasons such as picking flowers. I thought about my own runs and how I don’t even stop for red lights or kindly elderly ladies. I then think about my desire to achieve and maintain a Ryan Hall’ish like physique and how having to slow down and stop time and time again would impact my efforts. Heck, the child ignoring, self-centered version of me that currently exists can’t even achieve that, how much worse off would I be if I actually succumbed to the desperate pleas of my two daughters? And, eleven pounds? Yikes!

Yes, I’m selfish. My runs are mine, my time to allow my brain to shut down and just, be. And, while I will go for occasional short runs with them, mainly with my youngest, I’ve considered the distance run as little more than added mileage and have done that only if my personal runs weren’t impacted. And sure, I’ll participate in the coaching of my oldest daughter’s volleyball team, spending a seemingly endless amount of time in our front yard catching serve after serve, and I’ll spend a ridiculous number of hours working on sets and props in theaters for my youngest but hey, it’s all about me. Were they ever to try and interfere with one of “my” runs, they’ll get every measure of what’s coming to them: a slightly pained “Ok, let’s go!” You mess with the bull, you get the horns — I’m dad and I have spoken.

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