Saturday, April 24, 2010

A run with my son

My son, Jacob, who turned 7 on Thursday, is the keeper of my race medals and the logger of my miles. ("How many miles did you run today, Mommy? Three? Why not four?") He's also pretty swift-footed himself when racing around the Little League diamond or up and down the basketball court. But until today, running was a Mommy-thing, not a Jacob-thing. He had never seemed that interested in running just to run--not to win a race or score a run.

About a month ago, I signed up to do the Weston 5k on Memorial Day and had noticed that there was a kids' 1/4 mile fun run afterwards. I asked Jacob a few times if he wanted to see if he could run a 1/4 mile with me, just to see if there was an interest in doing this run, and his answer each time was, "Maybe another time." But today, even after a baseball day an a half hour of catching with his Daddy, he said he'd try it.

So we put on our shoes, I grabbed my Garmin for accuracy, and off we went.

I did give him some advice first: I said, "This isn't a race to see who's fastest. If you want to run the whole time and not stop, you can't run so fast that you get out of breath."

He said was OK with  the slow-but-steady plan of attack.

And I'm glad he did: Jacob and I easily completed the 1/4 mile without stopping, in 2:37. I high-fived him and whooped up and down for him, and he looked pretty proud. Then he said, "Can we try to run a whole mile?" I grinned. "We sure can!" So off we went again.

This was a lot harder on Jacob. He said a few times, "Can we take a break?" and I said, "Let's just try running really slow instead and then if we have to, we can." Slowing down really helped and I am amazed to say we did the full mile (right after running the 1/4) without stopping, in 10:13.

I'm not sure if I have a future high school track star on my hands--but I do suspect I've got myself a running buddy. Because he loved it. He said to me, "Even when it was hard I still really liked it, Mommy." I said to Jacob, "That's how I feel, too!"

When we got home, Jacob wrote me a "book" about his running adventure. I typed it up for him and am pasting it here.


By Jacob Mark

We have fun
We feel good.
It’s cool.

It makes you happy.
It’s good for your heart.

It makes your family happy.

It makes you happy and makes you sweaty.

That’s why I like running.


So my son runs with me--then writes a little poem about it. Running and writing. Did Mother's Day come a few weeks early this year? Be still, my heart.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A bad run is still a run

On my long run this weekend, the stars were just not aligned.

My running group ran on Saturday, and because of scheduling issues, I had to do it alone, Sunday instead. And, it was very hot outside and I didn't remember water. Plus, I just wasn't feeling it. Ever have one of those runs?

After doing 4 miles, with 2 miles left on my trail to get me home to my doorstep, I did something I have never done, not since I began seriously running last winter: I walked. I walked for a mile.

Then, after doing that, I did something else I haven't done in my history of runs: I jogged home. Not ran, but jogged. Like an 11-12 minute mile.

I wasn't proud of my Garmin read that day, but I was still glad I'd laced up that morning. Even though that walk 1/run 5 journey didn't do much to boost my runner's ego, hey, it was better than skipping it altogether, right? And it certainly burned off breakfast.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How to get faster without even trying.

With no race to train for, I stopped caring about how fast I was.

And then I got faster.

Here's how I inadvertantly became a nonchalant speed(ier) demon.

1. Stop trying to run fast. Just run to enjoy the outdoors, your music, the lightness of your feet on the pavement.

2. If you see someone out on the path running faster than you, don't speed up. It's OK. People will be faster than you.

3. You can use a Garmin, but don't look at it while you're running. Just glance at it at the end to track mileage and shrug off your pace. Who cares if you ran a 5 minute mile for three seconds while dashing through a yellow light?

4. Run more often than you had been before, but stick with shorter runs that won't wear your body out, with the long run being in the 6-8 mile range, and the everyday run in the 3-4 mile range.

5. One day, look over your Garmin history over the past month, and watch your average pace drop off several seconds a week. It'll be the fastest "minute" you ever lost. Without even trying.

6. Do a very modest happy dance, trying not to be too self-congratulatory, as it was a very zen, "speed, schmeed" that made your quicken up in the first place.