I decided this week that taking Odysseas, my seven year old son, with me for a run would be a good idea. He would ride his bicycle and I would run alongside him. Mezaparks here in Riga is a great place to go for a run or a bike ride. You can take any number of trails through the forest or, alternatively, go along the paved paths through the park. We had some very nice weather, so, even though half the city was out of town for Easter, there was good amount of people enjoying the outdoors.
So, I loaded his bike into the car and set out to the park. The fact he was wearing his helmet in the car revealed his excitement. I parked the car, got the bike out and we walked to one of the forest trails that end on the side walk. After walking in the forest for a few meters and having gone through token stretching motions I began to “run”. Ulysses almost fell from his bike laughing.
“Hahahahaha, is that how you run?” he continued, “That is sooo slow!”
OK, I was still warming up, but even my normal long run pace (6:00 – 6:30 min/km) would not seem much faster to him. I think he expected that I would run the way a child does, sprinting until exhaustion, stopping and then repeating.
“Well, this is how grownups run,” I told him, trying to hide that I felt like an old fogey.
For the next fifteen minutes or so, he would pedal ahead and pedal back to me when he felt he was too far. It was great watching him navigate the rough terrain and scare himself by pushing the boundaries of his own comfort zone by going down the hills a bit faster than usual. We then stopped by the shore of a lake and stood by some fishermen, and tried to peek in their baskets to see if they had caught anything.
After a drink of water and a few pistachios we backtracked to the car. We spoke about how cool General Grievous is in the Star Wars – Clone Wars cartoon series and how one day Ulysses wants to be a singer and a football player and scientist (specializing only in deep sea fish) and one more thing I can’t remember. We then drove home and the family got together to have dinner then some playtime and finally got to bed. Just before it was time to shut the lights, I have to admit that I felt a tiny bit of satisfaction when Odysseas told me, “Dad, I’m tired.”