Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Running Commentary

My seventh grader has joined the track team. I've known since he was in utero that this kid was born to run, but it was only this year that he became eligible for modified sports. Ben loves to run and is great at long jumps and sprints, so I've been talking up the track team to him since last year. He's been excited since I mentioned it and his enthusiasm never waned, not even when I told him they'd be practicing outside two hours a day, five days a week. Not even when I told him track season is from December to February (he hates the cold as much as I do). And not even when it rained and snowed the first week of practice and he was exhausted from running one, two, three miles.

He still loves it.

What's better is that he is in a great mood every night when I pick him up from practice, no matter if he has homework or other chores to take care of after dinner. It's like this is the sport he was born for.

When the weekend comes, they can't just not run. Training requires commitment and stamina, so he has a practice schedule for either Saturday or Sunday. Stretching, core workout, warm-up and then 25-40 minutes of running. I knew I couldn't send him outside to do this alone, so the family agreed we'd ALL train with Ben on the weekends, and he'd be in charge--our coach, as it were. This weekend was our first outing.

You never fully appreciate how out of shape you are until you start exercising with someone who does it all the time. I knew when I got winded during the warm up that I might have a tough time. Fortunately, my husband and older son were with us. Stretching? No problem. Core workout? Not terrible. A slow run on level ground around our neighborhood? Manageable. As a team.

We all ran the first block together. When we got to the second block, Ben, his brother and my husband continued to run and I slowed to a fast walk to catch my breath and clear my throat. I caught up at the end of the block and ran back with them. On the next block, we all ran together. But when we turned around, Ben and I left my husband and older son in the dust. By the fourth block, it was still just me and Ben and, though I was cold, I kept going. That's when he told me he hadn't really wanted to run with his family but it turned out to be fun. You can't fault the kid for his honesty, but I really should press him to find out what was fun and why he didn't want to do it with us.

My husband and I let the brothers run the last block together and mused about how out of shape we were. But we also agreed that the camaraderie and group support of Ben was important, and it definitely helped to get him to do his weekend workout. We covered two miles and Ben was very proud. He's going to make a great runner. And if the rest of us don't keel over, maybe we'll get in better shape by default. It's certainly something to aim for. Here's hoping for a mild winter, at least on weekends.

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