Julie Lyles Carr: Ease Up

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ease Up

It's warming up here in my part of the country.
As is, hitting the 90's.

I'm not sure I'm ready for this yet.

Particularly when it comes to running.

I hit one of my favorite routes yesterday, 5 of 8 joining me on his bike. He rides on the sidewalk, I run in the biker's lane. And off we go.

For several months now, I've been able to run at various times of day with a reasonable degree of comfort. On some bleaker winter days, I would wait until noon so as not to have my ears and fingertips freeze. But for the most part, I didn't have to think much about the outside temps when it came to lacing up my running shoes.

Which all changes for the next few months.

Because the price we pay for mild winters is blistering summers. Which means anything after 11am quickly turns into convection oven conditions. Perfect for hitting the pool. Miserable for hitting the pavement.

As 5 of 8 and I biked/ran yesterday, I noticed my pace was wilting a bit in the warmth. While 90 degree weather doesn't qualify for miserable, my body is not yet acclimated to the shift in temps.

Interject here that I am something of a legalist when it comes to running. When I have to cross a busy intersection and have to wait for the light and for the traffic, I feel a bit like I've cheated, like I haven't run the whole way. If I have to jog in place to wait for one of the kids to catch up to me on their bikes, I find myself fretting. And I have deep internal debates with myself if I consider stopping to retie one of my shoes; should I just ignore that flapping shoe or break stride? Is breaking stride for a loose shoe less than my best effort?

Please note, I don't have these kind of inner dialogs about dirty bathrooms or piles of laundry...I'm adept at ignoring those.

As I started up the incline yesterday that makes for the last third of a mile of my route, the sun was hot and the shade was sparse. And I could feel my cheeks burning.

And so...I stopped.

Walked for a bit.

Sipped my water.

Caught my breath.

Cooled down.

And reminded myself I run for health.

Not heat stroke.

At a book signing for a friend last night, I spoke with a mom who is trying to wrestle with school choices for her kids. She has also homeschooled and is surprised to find herself considering sending her kids to her local public school. She had always said she would do homeschool or private school but not public. She's having some deep internal debates with herself.

Trying to decide if she's going to stop to re-lace her educational shoe for her kids.

I've known moms who've declared they would never homeschool who end up exercising that option. I've known families who have been dyed-in-the-wool private school folks who've gone the public classroom route. I've known Montessori devotees who have changed horses. I've known unit study curriculum adherents switch to workbook based learning and vice versa.

And I've seen these folks wrestle with those choices, feeling like they might somehow perhaps be 'cheating', not fully running the course. I've done it myself. There is value in staying the course, not jumping ship at the first signs of challenge. But there are times when it's not that we're suffering a lack of diligence. It may be that we're suffering an over-adherence to running at a pace to our own detriment.

Maybe we need to ease up a bit.

And remind ourselves that the greater concept here is the health of our kids and families.

Not educational heat stroke.

Because conditions change and the climate can heat up or cool down. What worked well when the kids were younger may need to be re-laced in a new city, in a new season.

There is not failure in adjusting to changing conditions.

Because what is important remains the same.

We all, homeschool, public, private, unschool, Montessori, unit study, workbook based, we're all seeking the same thing.

The best option for our kids.

And that does sometimes mean listening to ourselves, taking into consideration the terrain, staying hydrated. For the health of the heart of the family.

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