• autism,  exercise,  family

    1+1+1+1=26.2

    Steve and I were pretty confident that J and W weren’t going to qualify for their EDC track meet (their conference before state). My kids run long distance but they’re not fast runners. All-star runners or not, they love running, and it’s been a family tradition to run the Fargo Marathon 5K for the past few years but this year we decided to change it up. Since we knew their track season would be over before the Fargo Marathon, (student athletes are not allowed to run road races or participate in extra-curricular competitions outside of their track or XC season), we decided to try something different this year. We decided…

  • autism,  exercise,  high school,  milestones

    Practically Glowing

    J has just completed 1 month of running on his own. I call it the “off-season off season.” It’s that time after regular season XC finishes and before the “off season winter running” begins. Because we’ve had an early winter and J’s a better runner, I haven’t been able to trail him with my bike or run a close distance behind him like I have in the past. J’s been running almost every single day after school, on his own, on the XC practice routes that run closest to our house and have the minimum amount of road traffic or intersections. As proud of him as I am, it made…

  • autism,  exercise,  high school,  motherhood,  teen years

    Without a doubt

    Back in April, I blogged a little bit about my anxiety and very real struggle of signing up my autistic son for a new extra-curricular activity. Especially extra-curricular activities where J is the only special needs kid in the room or team. Signing up J for the Sanford Power Summer Weights Class at his high school was a really nerve racking choice for me. Going into it, I really knew nothing about the program. I knew some of J’s XC teammates were signing up for it. I knew the class was run by trainers from Sanford Power alongside some of the high school football coaches and that’s about all I knew. I knew…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  high school,  milestones,  teen years,  track

    A New Label

      J’s met with a lot of new people this month–a new orthopedic doctor, new trainers in his weight training class, new therapists at the eye doctor. And in almost every conversation he’s had, one of the first things out of J’s mouth? “I’m a runner.” J has never identified himself with another label besides his name, so to hear him describe himself in a conversation as a runner? I was shocked, and elated, and little emotional. It’s been amazing to see J’s growth both emotionally and physically with this running journey. It’s like every few months, he becomes a new kid. And once again, this week, I got to…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  family,  milestones,  track

    Born to run

    I don’t know how he does it, but without fail, when J starts a new season of XC, track, or runs a race in the Fargo Marathon, he takes off minutes–MINUTES off of his PR from the previous season.  This weekend was the Fargo Marathon and J took off 1:39 off of his 5K time and 3:21 off of his 10K time. And Steve and I were totally shocked at how much improvement he’s made from last year’s 2017 5 and 10K races. J’s been running XC and track for three years now. He’s a conditioned runner and those dramatic reductions in time should start to wane and finally plateau. But…

  • autism,  exercise,  motherhood

    Leaps of Faith

    Signing up a child with autism in a new extra-curricular activity—especially a sport–is a very stressful experience. I can’t just look at the Fargo Parks and Rec catalogue and say, “baseball would be fun,” fill out the registration and send off the cheque. There’s a lot of stewing and agonizing, questions to consider like: “Are we doing this because J wants it or because as parents we want it?” “Will the teachers in the class be accommodating and understating of J’s special needs?” “Will the kids in the group/activity be accepting of J” “Will J be distracting or hinder the learning of the other kids in the group” “Does J…

  • anxiety,  autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  family,  mental health,  motherhood

    Your best is the best

    When we came back from our family trip back in July, J was struggling to get back into his running grove. It wasn’t that J didn’t want to run. The runs were just hard. Some of those summer running practices near the end of July were rough. J’s body was physically fine. His legs were strong, his lungs were strong, and he wasn’t battling any injuries. But running is one of those things that if you miss too many workouts it takes a few workouts until you feel like you’re back to where you were, and being inconsistent (and even missing) morning runs on our two week holiday set J…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  family,  middle school,  motherhood,  track

    The 10K Gamble and Learning to Trust J

    The Fargo Marathon is a pretty big deal around here. It’s a Boston Qualifier, and a really appealing one at that (Fargo is a really REALLY flat course and the weather is usually decent). There are races all week long for whatever floats your boat: dog runs, kid runs, the 5K and then marathon day which includes the 10K, half marathon, marathon relay, and marathon. The city gets really into it. The neighbourhoods do too–live bands play music to help rally the runners, people bring out orange slices to you, there are posters everywhere and hundreds of perfect strangers are cheering you on. It’s a really cool experience. This year my…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  track

    J can do something most kids can’t

    There are very few things that J can do that most kids can’t. In fact, there’s only really two things I can think of off the top of my head: the ability to remember the most obscure information and retain that information (like squaring and cubing numbers into the 10,000s, remembering dates and obscure facts of presidents of the United States, and remembering every exit number in ever state from North Dakota to Kansas). The other? running long distance. The party trick memory is fun for a little bit, but it’s really hard to engage with someone when all you can do is spew random facts at them. And it…

  • autism,  cross-country,  exercise,  family,  teen years

    A little Christmas story

    Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying a lovely holiday season! I just thought I’d take a moment and post one of my favourite little stories of kindness we’ve experienced in the week or two leading up to the holiday. J has been a champ when it comes to his first season of winter running. Most of December has been pretty cold, and despite the wind, snow, and sometimes single digit temps (or below -15C), J’s done a good job sticking through it all. I’ve said this before–running is one of the greatest life lessons out there, and one of those lessons i that you keep running…