Charlie's Long Run


I always thought I was the kind of mother that believed in her kids 100%. My daughter and son could accomplish whatever they set their eyes on. But it turns out, I have limited them perhaps more than I have given them the freedom to achieve.

My son Charlie didn't walk until he was nearly 2 years old. He started receiving Early Intervention services, Physical Therapy and Speech. He was responding well with the extra help, but I think I kept him from trying new things at the playground and at home, thinking he couldn't do things, or would get hurt.

When he was entering 7th grade he decided he'd sign up for the cross country team. As a runner, I thought this was great! I was so proud that he was even at all interested in running. He ran a 5k and finished in just over 40 minutes. I was so excited! But I felt the need to tell the coach that he still gets PT and wouldn't be as fast as the others or go as far as the others. The coach said not to worry, cross country is a sport for everyone. Over the season Charlie improved. In fact, his last 5k he ran in just over 31 minutes! Wow... I was so proud!

So now that he's going into high school, he decided he wanted to continue running cross country. This actually scared me a little. I know the coach and he has high expectations. I tried talking Charlie out of it, but he really seemed to want to try. I met with the coach before the summer to again, warn him of my son's limitations. The coach wants every runner to be able to run 10 miles by the fall. Ten miles?!? I told him Charlie is good with 3 miles, maybe even could do 4, but there is no way he can run 10 miles. I asked if there is any other activity he could do to replace a 10 mile run. The coach said he could use some bike miles in place of the long run. Ok, maybe Charlie could do this high school cross country thing then.

So here we are, a month before school starts, a week before cross country officially begins, and Charlie has been joining my Running with Kelly workouts to get himself ready for the season. He's been impressing me at every group workout, running a one mile time trial in under 8 min! He's been keeping with some of the quicker runners. Charlie's longest run was with my group a couple weeks ago, 6 miles! He did well! I was very happy for him. So he joined us for our planned 8 mile run yesterday. I had my doubts, that was very far and I never in a million years would have thought he could do it. I had several water stops set up along the way, where my husband would be able to pick him up if need be. Well, the planned 8 miles turned out to be 10 miles! My miscalculation cost us another 2 miles. Well, to be honest, it was 9.75 miles, but all the kids, including Charlie, insisted on getting that extra 1/4 mile in to make it to 10! They did it! He did it! My son ran 10 miles! He even told me after the run that he felt he could do 3 more to make a half marathon!

I always believe in my runners. I believe that we limit ourselves, and if we stop doing that, we can accomplish amazing things. But why was I limiting my own son?

I am frustrated with myself, that my over protection of Charlie, turned into holding him back, keeping him from accomplishing things. But he has taught me so much, especially over this past month, of what he is capable of, and let me tell you.... there is nothing my son can't do! From now on, I will be his biggest, loudest cheerleader!


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