Like a Kid Again

Today was one of those rare, warm March days here on the plains when the sun shines and the wind doesn’t blow. I had to leave work early to meet a repairman from our internet company, and once he left, I embraced my chance to run outside in the gorgeous weather while the sun was still high.

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I’ve been hearing a lot about MAF training lately and was curious about it, so I dug out my heart rate monitor strap, synched up my watch, and headed to my favorite loop around the local park. I was thoroughly enjoying my run, but glancing at my wrist every few seconds to check my heart rate.

As I looped around, I approached a young woman walking with a little boy, probably four years old. As I got closer, the little boy started running, too, looking over his shoulder at me and giggling.

“Are we racing?” I asked him. He giggled harder. “You’re fast!” I said.

He stopped giggling and turned to face me. “No,” he said. “I’m very fast.”

Then his mom called him back, and he turned, laughing again, and ran back to her, little legs and arms pumping as fast as they could go.

As I continued on my way, I wondered, why don’t run like that? Instead of staring at the numbers on my wrist, why not enjoy the sun on my back and the speed in my legs? Why don’t have that confidence in my running? He didn’t care that I passed him — after all, I’m three times his size! He was “very fast” because his little legs cruised fast for him. Why shouldn’t I enjoy being “very fast” for me?

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The sheer joy that little boy felt as he ran is why I started running. It’s fun. It feels good. It makes me happy. That joy sometimes gets buried under a pile of data, but really, what’s more important than being so happy you can’t stop giggling? Not a bunch of numbers, that’s for sure.

When I head out for my run tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of that little boy, of his joy and his confidence. And I’ll enjoy every step. Because I’m very fast.

How do you keep the joy in running (or your fitness activity of choice)?

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