Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Clothes = Faster Running

Well, we've now completed 3 weeks of our 5K training program and I’m happy to report that no one has quit!  Though Leo tried to…

There’s no crying in baseball!
Yep, on our second long run – a 3.5 miler - he announced that his ankles hurt, his legs were tired, and he didn’t think he wanted to run at Disney after all.  Leo does karate, but hasn’t ever been involved with other sports like soccer or football in which you typically find coaches who pull out the tough-guy rhetoric necessary to get kids moving past their innate desire to wimp-out when the going gets rough.  And I found myself in a predicament: was I, as his only full-time parent, to be sympathetic and understanding that maybe he’d tried something new and found it not to his liking?  Or did I pull out my angry eyes, give him a stern lecture about commitment and follow-through?  The choice was easy – “Young man, you said you wanted to run at Disney and we are damn-well GOING TO RUN AT DISNEY!  I’ve already paid for our registration and hotel, we’ve made a commitment and we’re sticking to it.  Now stop acting like it’s the end of the world and RUN!”

Frankly, I was prepared for him to hate me afterward, but something magical happened that day – Leo sucked it up, ran as much as he could, walked the rest, and never uttered another complaint.  When we finished, I gave him a high-five, a rib-cracking hug, and my sincere thanks for doing his best and finishing what we’d started.  In turn, he gave me a big smile, told me he was proud of us both for going so far and agreed that running at Disney might be fun after all!  One wall down, many more, I’m sure, to go.

Dress for the runner you hope to be.
As a treat to ourselves for completing that long run, we handed over my wallet to Target and bought ourselves all new running wardrobes.  You know what they say about the career world, right?  Dress for the position you want, not the one you're in?  Well, I think the same might be said about running, or any other sport.  Leo had exactly nothing resembling running gear, unless you count his well-worn Nikes and some karate pants.  My workout wardrobe was replete with old, faded, stretched-out yoga pants and T-shirts that had become unfit for public viewing a decade ago; fine for walking the treadmill in my bedroom or doing yoga at home, but wholly inappropriate for running around the neighborhood, unless I want to look like the local bag-lady.  Which I don’t.  Lucky day – Target had a sale on all things Duo-Dry!  New wicking T;s, wicking pants, wicking shorts, pullovers and hoodies.  Even a wicking skort, perfect for a Disney running princess!  On a roll, we also invested in good new running shoes and belts to hold keys and phones, since I was regularly distressing the neighborhood canines with my incessantly-jingling keys.
And I can say with a fair amount of certainty that our new duds did wonders to motivate us, if not actually improve our pace.  Comfort is key, was the lesson I learned.

41 hurts.
In closing, I turned 41 this week.  I’m glad to be past 40, which just plain sucked, but I’m not real thrilled with what my 41-year-old body is doing.  My knees hurt; my shoulders are tight; my left foot keeps cramping up.  But, remembering the pep talk I delivered to Leo, I’ve chosen to keep with it and FINISH what we’ve started.  I’m sure the lifetime supply I bought today of Biofreeze will help. ;)

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