So this morning's run was one in which I was trying to teach my 11 year old about consistency. We started a bit slower than we did for last week's run but the three miles were within 7 seconds of each other for pace and he brought down the time we ran last week by over a minute. He still isn't back to where he was after 3-4 months training last June, but we'll get him there. He even was able to chat while running, which both my marathon coach from last year and half marathon coach from this year have said is a sign of running at an appropriate and easy pace. This morning he was explaining the finer points of gardening in a small space with a mixture of compost and two other types of soil. That is one thing he really enjoys outside of spending time with me running.
So, does this mean I am paying it forward, i.e., with "it" being all the help I ever got from anyone? In little bits and pieces, sure. Sometime paying it forward is about working with peers. Sometimes it is about passing along wisdom gained to one's children. This is obviously the latter. If, by completing at least a 5K run each weekend, he can feel more confident of himself and more confident in his ability to accomplish things, then that is a great thing to achieve. If he can improve over the time he ran last year and see what sticking with something can do for him--all the better. And, if all it takes is what I'd be spending my Sunday mornings doing anyway (i.e., unwinding after a long Saturday run with a fast last mile), then that works really well.
Does that mean that is all there is in the process of "paying it forward"? Probably not. I still want to figure out whether I need to be there for my fellow half marathon or marathon training group members, and, if so, what is the right way to help. The story of the talents from the Gospel (Matthew 25:14-30), comes to me as I ponder this, although it is not the time of year in the Catholic church (in fact we wont' hear it in a Sunday reading until November 13). The key is--I have been given something and am called upon to figure out how to make the best use of it. That is the call. How will I answer?