52 Weeks of Brotherhood: The One with 50 Degrees

The One with the 50 Degrees

The One with the 50 Degrees

I’m a parent. I have lots of rules. Some make sense. Some don’t.

One of my most important rules states, “Don’t waste a 50 degree day in January.”

So when it hit 52 degrees while I was out running errands this past Saturday, I instructed the boys to put on shoes and their new bike helmets as soon as I arrived home. And out we went.

LittleBrother received a new “big” bike from Santa for Christmas as he learned to ride without training wheels over the summer. Two years ago, BigBrother also received a bike for Christmas from Santa. It’s funny the way those things work in brotherhood, isn’t it?


But that January, BigBrother couldn’t reach the ground when he tried to ride his new bike on a 50 degree day. We even removed the reflector from underneath his seat so we could lower it just a bit more. Still too short. ‘

LittleBrother could touch the ground just fine, reflector in place. Off he rode, following his brother. He moved a little slower than he did on the smaller bike he learned to ride last year; he couldn’t maneuver the turns very well as the bike weighed quite a bit more. He fell a time or two trying to turn around and ride back toward the house, but he got right back up, situated the bike, and started pedaling back in the direction he wanted to go.

They rode their bikes back and forth for awhile, enjoying the movement and the warmer air. I snapped pictures, walked back and forth as need be, and even ran a bit to get in front of a boy while wearing slouchy boots. (I ran earlier in the day, thus reaching my own movement quota for a warm day.) The sun warmed us, inside and out, and by the time we walked back inside, we all felt better.

Better as a family, better for having moved, better as a mom, as a dad, as brothers. Like maybe January wasn’t the longest month of all eternity and we hadn’t been mostly cooped up with each other since before Christmas. Like maybe even if we had, that it was okay, that it wouldn’t last forever.

And that’s really all you can ask for in January.



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Embrace the Hill Again

Embrace the Hill Again

Embrace the Hill Again

I’m still not training just yet, so I’m still running what I want to run.

And the other day, I wanted to run hills.

Which is crazy, right? (Answer: Right!)

Less than a half mile from my house, the Perfect Hill exists. Once upon a 2012 and a 2013, I didn’t find the hill to be so perfect. Training for the Pittsburgh Marathon last year taught me to appreciate it just a little more.

I worked hard to make it up just one time without stopping.

It felt brutal at times.

I didn’t always make it. I frequently needed to pause, to catch my breath, and as the weather warmed, to cool down. Hills make me overheat more than usual.

And so I didn’t really know what to expect this past week when I ran off in the direction of the hill. I made it my goal to make it up just once without stopping. With all the extra strength work I’ve been doing over the past two months, I felt like my legs might be strong enough to make it.

And they were!

I ran that hill, slow and steady, all the way to the top.


To say I felt proud is an understatement. I kind of did a fist pump as I turned and ran back down the hill. Yes, I decided to run it again.

But first, I decided to run out the country road a little bit to cool down. I felt warm despite the cool temperatures, so I didn’t want to run the hill immediately. I knew I would overheat.

Out the country road I ran, enjoying the sunny day and the light breeze and the unleashed dogs… oh dear. They noticed me before I noticed them. These dogs were the ones the local mailman warned me about as he gave me his pepper spray one day. I took another couple of strides toward them before I realized they were moving in my direction.

So I turned around and ran back the way I came.

They followed.

I ran faster. I ran really fast. I outran the dogs.

And found myself at the foot of the hill totally out of breath and totally overheated—exactly what I didn’t want to happen. I paused and rested for a few minutes to allow my breath to return, and then I started up the hill.

I paused once mid-hill, still overheated, but then took the rest of the hill very slowly all the way to the top. I finished my run with the knowledge that I can embrace the hill. I can still do hard things, run long distances, beat big hills.

I can and I will.

Embrace the Hill Again