This is the first installment of my popular one segment series, “Runner Advice”. Enjoy. It probably won’t return.
I’ve been trying to fill out my yearly race dance card lately. It’s not an easy thing to do. It’s like Kristen Stewart trying to find time to brood; there’s never enough time to brood. The will is there: I’d like to run races. The health is there: I’m strong like bull. The finances are there: I have a credit card. So what’s the hold up?
Kids. Yup, those guys. Again. Sheesh, I provided the ingredients; Mrs. Nitmos baked ‘em in the oven; Life was created! You’d think that would be enough of our involvement for them. Nope. They require a couple decades worth of constant “attention”, “food”,” water”, “medicine”, “love”, and “guidance”. What the hell did we invent TVs for? I think there’s a word for this: ungrateful.
I’ve been thinking about a spring half marathon and a fall marathon with some summer 5 and 10k’s thrown in. I might as well keep thinking about it because the reality of making it happen is proving difficult. We just received the kids’ spring soccer schedules. Two kids, two sets of indoor games, outdoor regular season games and additional bonus State Cup games. If you include my soccer games, we have 49 games on the schedule over the next 13 weekends. That doesn’t include practice time, of course.
You know that May race I was thinking about? Not happening. There are a few races I’ve always wanted to do the first weekend of June. And I’ll continue to still want to do them because that particular weekend is the final weekend of soccer games for the season. Oh, but there’s a nice half marathon the second weekend of June…which is soccer tryouts for the following season. Not happening.
I should have been one of those dads that hides behind a newspaper and only grunts in the direction of the kids when he wants another beer. What happen to those dads? What happened to the good ole days? A little neglect and deep emotional scarring never hurt a kid before.
For those of you with kids already, you know what I’m talking about. They are little Time Thieves. They are like an engrossing reality show. They get you all wrapped up in their little dramas and then you realize two hours have gone by and your kid didn’t get the rose.
For those of you without kids, let me be the first to suggest: Don't have them. Or, at the very least, raise lazy kids. Television is a wonderful babysitter, friend, confidante, therapist, and educator. It can do a much better job in those areas than you could ever do. Think you know a lot? The History Channel knows more. Think you can unravel their traumatic emotional issues? Not better than Dr. Phil, you can't. Think you know better than TELEVISION? Don't be arrogant. Also, you’d be surprised at how much more running you can get done when you plop the kid right down in front of the TV with a bowl of chips. This is a fact: The lazier your child; the better your chance of PRing. Heck, I set all of my PRs when I could put the kids in a child swing, set it on Slow, and head out the door for a long run as they gently rocked back and forth and drifted off to sleep. Every five miles, you come back around to make sure there are no fires, dump some Cheerios on the tray, grab a swig of Gatorade and Gu and head back out the door. My motto was: Unless they are blue in the face, keep training for the race!
But that doesn’t work anymore. Ever try to get a 15 year old to cooperate while you attempt to stuff him into a swing? (Not to mention that the tray won't latch.) And he sure as shit won’t eat dry Cheerios anymore. The language – and strength – of a 15 year old these days!
We should never have encouraged them to be active. Forty-nine games?!?! I suppose I could do laps around the field while they play but that would cut into my valuable Yelling at the Ref time. (I find that most referees need a parents help in order to correctly whistle an offsides. This is a theory I’m attempting to prove.) You reap what you sow and I sowed the seeds of future running obstacles way back when I rolled that soccer ball out onto the grass and encouraged my new little walker to kick the ball. It was a pathetic kick – barely went an inch – but he was delighted despite my disapproving scowl. He (and then, she) continued to kick the ball over the years and now I don’t have a free weekend to run a goddamn race.
My time would have been better spent teaching them how to work the remote control. Soccer’s more fun to watch then to play anyhow, right?
Kristen Stewart’s not the only one brooding these days. Just how many kids does she have anyway?
Last weekend, my filly contributed 4 goals and an assist in stirring 3-2 and 3-0 wins. It was fun to watch even though I estimate that it cost me approximately 20 seconds off my next 5k time. /Reaped