Running has been sporadic over the past week which is a little scary since the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half marathon is fast approaching; just three weeks away! Every waking moment the little voice in the back of my head says, “Dude, it’s cold out and you’re getting thin up here. Put a hat on!” It also says, “You better get in those distance runs. Tic-toc goes the clock, big guy.”
The first problem has been taken care of. My boys got me this ultra-cool Darth Vader beanie for Christmas. Now the wheezing and heavy breathing when I run sounds intentional. Carson, the ultimate Harry Potter fan, got all the essentials to become a Gryffindor barber pole. And Parker is modeling his beanie from the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Park, which also makes an ideal target in our Nerf gun wars.
The second problem is a motivation issue. Lately, it’s been, “It’s cold out.” Or, “I’ll run later.” Or the ever popular, “I just ate that dish of lasagna and wouldn’t want to puke in the neighbor’s lantana again.”
However, a hero has arisen! Now that Parker has joined the cross country team at school, it gives us a reason to get out and run together. Well, ok, it’s more like, “Come on, Parker, let’s go.”
“Oh, alright,”and the negotiations begin. “Can I ride my bike?”
“How far are we going?”
“You can run the first two miles with me then go in and I’ll continue the rest of my run.”
That’s how it starts, but the truth is that we both thoroughly enjoy it. I love it because it’s a private time with my boy when we talk about whatever he wants. He likes it because he can run circles around me.
If you haven’t seen The Incredibles, you should. It’s my favorite animated film. There’s a scene at the end where Dash, the superhero kid who is super fast, is in a track meet with other kids and is trying to dial in his speed so that he’s competitive but doesn’t blow everyone away. He speeds up, then slows down looking at his dad in the stands for guidance. That’s Parker.
His skinny legs slip through the air with no resistance as his canoe paddle feet slap the pavement like flippers. All the while, he has a look on his face like, Come on, man. I’ve got places to go and people to see.
“I know you’re used to running a lot faster than this,” I say, and then his face softens as he takes pity on me and a conversation begins. He may have me on speed, but I can still outlast him. The max they run is two miles.
This week, my goal is 24 miles including some intervals (which for me is more like the sputtering death throes of a Yugo near empty) and 9 miles next Saturday. Depending on whether or not it rains, I would like to do that on a trail to get in some inclines.
Since training has been lacking, I plan on doing the run-walk method. I’ve done it before and it was quite entertaining. The app Run-Walk – which you can set for whatever time intervals you want and gives one loud beep when it’s time to walk and one loud beep when it’s time to run – is apparently pretty popular. As my phone beeped, I began to walk. Then in a few seconds there was another beep, and another. I looked up to see various runners starting and stopping and looking around at each other. We sounded like a convoy of U-Haul trucks backing up. This year, I’ll carry earbuds for one ear.
On New Year’s Day, I’ll begin the I Love To Run challenge of 1,000 miles in a year which, by summertime, could become the I Hate Running What Was I Thinking passing fancy.
Run into the New Year with determination, my friends, and don’t look back. I wish you all a wonderful, positive and productive 2017!