One of the most enjoyable parts of the relationship I have with Kaitlyn is that she has taken a real interest in running. She has, over the last two years or so, turned into my running buddy. She will run around the neighborhood with me on occasion, and has run in several local one mile races, plus one in Jacksonville. She gets upset at me when I dare enter a local race, or any race, and run it by myself.
This past Saturday was one we had circled on the calendar for a few months. This past Saturday, Kaitlyn ran in her first 5k (3.1 miles). The event was sponsored by her school and benefitted their Relay for Life program to help find a cure for cancer. I ran the 5k last year, and Kaitlyn did the one mile, and she was determined to run the 5k this year. It was all that she talked about all week, and she was happy to get out of bed around 6:30 Saturday morning.
Saturday’s time will not go down as a personal best for me in the 5k, but it will go down as the absolute most enjoyable 5k that I have ever run. Kaitlyn did a great job. She made it well over a mile before she had to walk for the first time, and really and truly ran like the wind; her little arms were just pumping the whole time. We finished with a time of 35:55, placing 231st and 232nd in the event; Kaitlyn even got a high-five from her teacher at the finish line.
There are no races on Kaitlyn’s schedule until the middle of March, so it will be a while before she gets to toe the line of a race. She’ll probably run one or two more before the end of school, which also happens to be the time that our local races take somewhat of a summer hiatus. For the fall, we are considering entering a 5k together at Disney, will surely do the Turkey Trot again, and I have already signed Kaitlyn up to join me in Columbus in November to run her final leg of the Soldier Marathon’s Kids Marathon.
I have come to realize that running is a really good metaphor for raising a child with Asperger’s. There are times where you run great, there are times when you run bad, but no matter what, just keep running. And of course, no matter if you have gone on a good run or a bad run, you will be very tired at the end of the day.