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Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown's son, Ace, shakes snow off a tree while on a run.

There's nothing quite like a solo run that goes on for miles and miles, spanning over several hours. For me, being able to do this is the recharge I need as a wife and mother of eight children.

However, as my children have gotten older, and as we have added to our family, the chances I have had to do this have lessened substantially. Whether the night is spent tending to a baby or staying up late on a Friday night with a house full of teenagers, my Saturday morning long runs have become a thing of the past, if not extremely sporadic.

On a recent Saturday morning, I was feeling pretty bad for myself. Months had gone by since I'd had a few hours to myself, and it wasn't looking like this particular Saturday would be any different. I looked at the clock to see that I had exactly 1.5 hours to drive the 3 miles up the canyon and get some snowy miles in. Roads were not a good option on this particular icy morning.

Arianne Brown
Arianne Brown's oldest three sons trek through the snow while on a run with her.

While I was getting ready, my 14-year-old son, Anderson, asked if he could come. He then invited my 12- and 10-year-old sons Ace and Aussie. I have a hard time saying no — especially to things like this — and before I knew it, my solo run was now a group run, and we were all bundled up taking our first snowy steps in the trail.

As is customary with teenage and preteen boys in a land covered in snow, silliness was had. Ace pushed on trees to make snow fall down on his brothers behind him. Aussie made a snow angel, and Anderson wanted to run slightly off the path to see how deep the snow really was.

At first, I was a little frustrated because we were not running, but playing in the snow. But as I saw the smiles on their faces, all of that frustration went away. I was with my kids, and they were having fun.

Soon, the terrain became runnable, and we all enjoyed a good run through the pine forest before the earlier shenanigans manifested themselves in the form of cold extremities. Because of this, the final mile back to the car consisted of a little discomfort, and needing to drag one child practically screaming for it to be over while the other two sprinted to the finish and the promise of a warm car.

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As we finished our 3-mile journey in the snow that morning, barely making it home in time, I was entirely satisfied. Each step — yes, even the silly and frustrating ones — were filled with the realization that I was sharing my joy with my children. As they looked at the towering trees above, they were not only seeing my world, but experiencing it firsthand.

This run was nothing like the long, solo run I was hoping for. I had no time to get into my state of mindfulness because I was managing three silly brothers. I didn't go very far because kids who aren't used to running long can't go very far. Even so, I felt as if my time and even satisfaction for the run was multiplied, and I was filled with the joy of time well-spent with my children.