Earlier this year, during the weekly phone call with my folks, my mom announced that dad and her started running. My dad’s 71 and my mom is 68. Neither of them have run before, except maybe after my brother and I when we were toddlers.
My parents have been relatively active all their life. For as long as I remember, my mom and dad have enjoyed cross-country skiing, pretty much every day of every winter. My dad’s stunts have impressed the whole family (and stressed some), especially when he biked solo from Québec to Havre-St-Pierre (that’s over a 1200 Km ride) on the eve of his 60th birthday. We are probably the only family whose members fight over shoveling snow. We have the cleanest driveway on the street after every snowfall. And when the snowfall is too small to provide sufficient exercise, we shovel the balcony too.
As active as they are however, I remember them saying they would never run. Well, never say never, right? Thanks to some positive energy from my new sister-in-law to be, my parents undertook this challenge. My mom’s goal is to run 30 minutes and my dad is more than excited to help her achieve that goal. I had to scold him because he was a bit too excited, perhaps. He suggested they skip one week of their carefully designed program. This resulted in some pains in my mom’s knees.
My mom told her family physician about their new activity. As a warm-up, they walk to the river where they run on a loose-rock bike path. This 5-minute warm-up is done limping, for both of them. Mom says she can feel the reproachful looks from their neighbors watching behind the ajar blinds. She gets her kick back when, after their run, they return as smooth and graceful as two prowling panthers. Her doctor thought it was funny and encouraged them to continue. A few people have reacted negatively though. How could two older folks take on such a frivolous challenge? Funny how some people project their own fears and inhibition onto others, especially onto adventurous others.
I know this new running routine will stick because one day my mom asked for my permission to run two days in a row. She rationalized with me, saying she “feels it” when it’s the day she isn’t running. She feels it in her mood. She misses it. I laughed proudly and told her that she was addicted to running. To encourage her, I recommended she do some body weight exercise in-between her running sessions. I told her to keep focusing on how running will improve her cross-country skiing next winter. When we hung up, she was hyper-motivated and eager to take on new challenges. I’m so proud of my parents!
Last week, it was their birthdays. My brother and I bought them each their very first pair of running shoes as a gift. Maybe next year we will run a race the four of us. That would be incredible!