So far on my two non-working Thursdays, I've taken Katrina running in the jogging stroller -- "running in the mountains." I put it that way once and she latched onto it: "Are we going running in the mountains, mommy? Are we going running in the mountains, mommy? Are we going running in the mountains mommy?" (Repeat at least 10 times without stopping to take a breath.)
So Gabriel heard this and asked if we could go running in the mountains too. I said sure, but I was going to do a real run -- is he up for it? "YES!" he exclaimed. He was so looking forward to it, talking excitedly in the car on the way to Rancho San Antonio, "Mom, are you REALLY psyched about this? I can't WAIT to get there!" I warned him I was planning a tough route for him -- 4.5 miles, and hilly. I told him we could decide to take an easier route too, but he said, "No, I want to do the hard trail."
We started out fine, but it wasn't long before he got "cramps" -- stitches, I think. He had to stop a few times, and I tried to help him through them, though unfortunately I know of no remedy for stitches except to just keep going. I was impressed at his toughness though -- no whining or complaining at all, just a regretful "ugh, I have to stop."
When we got to the decision point -- which was, either a nice easy downhill on Coyote Trail, or the tough uphill of the PG&E trail -- I asked him again: "are you sure you're up for the tough stuff?" He insisted on it, that's what he wanted to do. And, he did OK on the first part that's pretty steep, but not as well on the long part later that's uphill but not as steep. He said his stomach hurt too, and really really tried to keep going, but kept having to stop.
After about 3 miles, we got to the last part of the loop, we had to walk the whole way, except one steep downhill that he gathered all his energy for to run downhill.
The tummy-ache was solved by a trip to the restrooms at the end, and he was quickly revived with some water (I don't run with water, it's a pain to carry), and he was just fine.
I'm not sure what I should have expected. Running Club has started again at school, and he told me he tied a record for number of laps run in one day. We've run part of the route we did today together, and he breezed through it. Indeed, he had little trouble with the hardest steepest parts today. I guess it was just too long for him in his current condition. 7-year-olds run 10Ks, so I know it's not just age, but it's not easy to pick up and run this route without some training.
Still, I came away admiring again how determined and persistent he was, never whining, never complaining, and truly trying his best to push through whatever discomfort he had. We'll certainly do this again.