One of the best things to come out of needing to step back with running is this...
Big G and his mama, post-run :)
Big G runs a timed mile for PE once a month. He's been a little discouraged that his times are not getting faster...in fact, they've gotten slower. His best was 7:57 or something like that just under an 8-minute mile. His last two have been around 9:15. He keeps wishing he were faster...but somehow that whole notion of doing the work to make that happen seemed to be escaping him. Then, about 10 days ago, he told me he really wanted to be able to get a better time, and when I suggested he come out and run with me a few times per week, he said "Okay."
The first two times were agony. He was miserable and whiny. Huffing and puffing and slapping his feet and then shuffling his feet, he kept asking if we could stop...like, every 30 seconds. We were doing minilaps around the block (<0.2 mi) because he "didn't want to run too far"...failing to understand that a mile is a mile is a mile and running a whole mess of tiny loops might be way more boring than running a bigger loop fewer times. Whatever. Toward the end of the second run we did together, about when the pissing and moaning was at its zenith, I asked him, "So...does a manticore have wings?" And without hesitating or gasping for air, he rattled off several different descriptions of this mythological beast. And then he launched into a compare/contrast monologue between the manticore and a chimera which lasted for the rest of the run.
Since then, at the beginning of each subsequent outing, he starts right off asking me, "So what should we talk about this time?" And he's all chipper and jaunty as he rattles of myths and legends and tales of strange beasts from literature. There is usually a segment of the run where he starts groaning and gasping, but it seems to be happening later and later in the run and lasting for a shorter period of time. Go, Big G!
For the first time in his life, he is enjoying stepping out of his comfort zone. He even asked for real running shoes...so we got some yesterday. We've just gone regular, ol' running...no speedwork, no tempo crap...just running to run to have it be fun. I'm guessing that it can't help but improve his fitness level and mile time more than sitting on his butt doing homework would or playing alien-invaders-meet-the-knights-of-the-jedi-round-table-in-sherwood-forest...or whatever the heck he and Q-man play every single night when they are supposed to be doing homework.
We'll see this Wednesday when he runs in PE. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I know that an improvement will go a long way toward motivating him to keep it up. Unfortunately, I'm thinking the flip side of that also applies. But we're going for OPTIMISM here at Taking It On...so think good thoughts for my boy :)
After he and I ran 1.25 miles on Friday, I did an additional 3...that felt spectacular. They weren't particularly speedy, but they felt solid and comfortable and loose and happy, even though it was pouring rain for part of the run. It was so unbelievably encouraging.
On Saturday, after our family went out in Sherry's honor (click here to see a slideshow tribute created by Sherry's cousin, Beth Risdon), I went for the nicest bike ride I've had in 3 months. It was a gorgeous day. I didn't cry. Irritating people and their leash-less dogs only bothered me a little bit. And I saw this...
Guy on a really tall bike...
...that he made himself...I asked.
When I showed these pictures to my husband, he wanted to know Why? What is the attraction to this? Would it make you ride faster? Is it refining balance or strength? What is the purpose of the Tall Bike? (he's a guy who always asks these kinds of questions...on a casual run together once early in our courtship, he asked me...just as casual conversation, mind you... "what is the basis of your spiritual foundation?" Yeah, inquiring minds want to know).
I told him that I didn't think there was a point to the Tall Bike...that I really thought is was just a creative thing and for attention. And he countered with, "Well...how do you know?" To which I replied, "I can tell by the boots." The guy's wearing image boots.
Sadly, my awesome Friday run, powerfully emotive walk Saturday morning, and joyous bike ride later that afternoon took their toll on me somehow. My guts are messed up and my back is in pain. The pain goes down my leg. I actually think the guts are hurting something in my pelvis (psoas, maybe?) that is, in turn, bugging my back and leg. And I think this is likely related to that thing I did for the entire month of November that also screwed up my serotonin. The intricacies and interrelations of the human body are mind-blowing.
I am looking forward to the day that I get this crap sorted out. Literally.