After finishing my 30 days of not-eating-anything-sugary, I found myself in need of another challenge, a raison d’etre. Because let’s face it: there are people in this world who get up at 5am and run and have their entire day planned out. (Some might call them ‘motivated’.) And there are people in this world who drag themselves out of bed in the morning and think of exercise in the vaguest possible sense – as something they ‘should’ do ‘sometime’. And then they get sidetracked and make coconut cupcakes instead. (Some might call them ‘me’.)
But of course that big birthday looming on the horizon is approaching quickly. And, save 10 Jillian Michaels’ work-outs (yes, I counted) I have not done much in 2014 in the way of exercise.
So I decided to sign myself up to run……. a 5k.
Yes, I know, the aforementioned ‘motivated’ types are out running marathons or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro when they turn 40 and then there’s little old me who commits to
running jogging-at-a-snail’s-pace, a whopping 5 kilometers.
Stop the presses!
And then, on a Saturday in mid-March, I took it a step further. The professor and I were out walking with our two oldest boys. (‘Walking’ being of course a euphemism for complaining-bitterly.) A mother-daughter duo jogged past our sorry little party of four and I looked at them slightly enviously. There would be no mother-daughter jogging in my future. (Which, admittedly, is probably one of the lesser things to be sad about, but nonetheless.)
Before I had time to shed even a pseudo-tear, I’d turned my lemons into lemonade. True, I do not have a teenaged daughter who might run with me. However, I have three sons. And one of them just turned 10. Which is surely a reasonable age for running 3.1 miles.
‘Hey, what do you think about training to run a race with me,’ I asked my oldest boy-wonder.
The next day we went to Edworthy Park and alternated jogging for 60 seconds with walking for 90 seconds. It was no easy feat due to the absence of anything resembling a watch. So I ran with the professor’s phone in my hand – because it had some sort of stopwatch app (which stopped working in the middle of our workout) – and exhorted my less-than-thrilled companion to press on.
‘That was a lot harder than I thought it would be,’ he lamented afterwards. Which made me all kinds of nervous seeing as the (eventual) goal is to run 30 minutes. Continuously.
A few days later we went out again, this time with my old app-less red cell phone as a time-keeping device.
Afterwards we went to Wal-Mart and spent $9 on a digital watch. Because who wants to run with a phone in their hand?!
Though we’ve only done 6 or 7 runs to date, I have to admit running with the Gort has been unexpectedly delightful. He holds my hand when we walk. We chat. He tells me little stories he wouldn’t otherwise, because it’s just the two of us and there are no distractions clamoring for my attention, other than our less-than-enthusiastic feet and hearts.
He wants to get a Husky dog. He once saw me but it turned out to be a ghost (?). He doesn’t want to go to Disneyland because it’s too babyish. He really wants to participate in a spelling bee. ‘Can you find out if there are any English spelling bees in Calgary? (He was trying out for a Spanish spelling bee the following day.) Because I’m a pretty good speller. I can spell impossible and that’s a pretty big word. I-……mmmh, is it 2 m’s or 2 p’s……’
And I couldn’t help but laugh out loud because the kid is actually a very good speller, but 2 M’s or 2 P’s in immpposible?
‘It’s actually 2 S’, I finally told him.
‘Can you take me to Starbucks after,’ he asked during Thursday’s run. I relented due to his lack of complaining about the running, but not before subjecting him to a math-lesson-on-the-go about how much money we’d spend if we spent $5 at Starbucks every day; waiting for him to multiply the relevant numbers until he got the correct answer.
Multitasking at its finest.
On Saturday, we talked about the race. ‘So what should be our goal for finishing the 5K,’ I asked him as we made our way into the Weaselhead, ‘how long do you think it will take us?’ ‘I don’t know…..maybe 10 minutes a kilometer,’ he ventured a guess. ‘Uh, I really hope we can do it in less than that,’ I tried to reconcile my pride with athletic inability. ‘5 minutes a kilometer?’ he tried again. ‘Yeah, I don’t think that’s going to happen,’ my realistic self replied. Seeing as the last 5K I did – when I was in my twenties – took me about 30 minutes. ‘Well how about 7 minutes a kilometer,’ he negotiated. ‘Sure, that’s a good goal.’
Of course, it remains to be seen if I will be able to relinquish that goal should my partner prove unable or unwilling to meet it. I’m already envisioining my (more benign) Sophie’s Choice: continue race, slowly, with child or tell him I’ll wait for him at the finish line.
Because one of the other benefits of running with my 10 year old? I can still outrun him.
Saturday at the Weaselhead, where the trail is still quite covered with snow. (Photo courtesy of jsj)