I have a new appreciation for my son who is to be known from here on out as my WingmanNot because what he is doing is new because he’s been riding with me as I run both long and short runs for a few years. I appreciate him being with me because he keeps me accountable. Now, I’m not a quitter and I usually finish what I start. I have run long and short and never, barring a gastric or heat or water issue, have shortened a run. I’m not afraid to be out there without him but when he is with me it’s so nice having someone there. I think because I’m reading James Lawrence’s book “Iron Cowboy; redefine impossible” and learning what it takes to achieve something tremendously difficult. I am learning the true value of having a team that helps you get things done. Having what the Iron Cowboy refers to as Wingmen. They never leave your side and take turns managing you, YES Managing you. They make sure you eat, they make sure if you need food, medical attention, hydration, massages, a bathroom, that it’s available pretty much on demand or they look for it in a hurry. They are the glue that holds you together enabling you to shuffle yourself to the finish line whatever that may be.
I am not tackling anything difficult but having my son with me to hold my water, encourage me when I look tired, ask me if I’m ok as I run in the blazing heat or even telling me to slow down when he notices that I’m struggling is priceless. He rode with me yesterday as I traversed 10 miles along the Cape Cod Canal. We went there because I knew he would enjoy being there and I was struggling with wanting to do 10 miles around my town for some reason. It’s never been a problem but the call of The Cape was too great to pass up and as I anticipated, James was all it! We rode in silence many miles as I listened to my music and at times we talked briefly. When I was about to run out of PowerAde, James checked both rest stops along our route for a vending machine which was not present. When we got to station number 2 and there wasn’t any vending machines, James improvised and rinsed out the bottle and filled it up with clean water from the bubbler for us. He is my right hand man when it comes to managing me on long runs.
During our run I noticed him standing and pedaling with one leg so he could avoid sitting…yeah those bike seats don’t ever really feel comfy. I can’t have my wingman uncomfortable! Because I appreciated him so much and enjoyed yet another day with him by my side and want to encourage him to want to do it again, I bought him a pair of cycling shorts for the long runs so his butt wouldn’t hurt so much! I also bought two more bottle holders for his bike so we won’t run out of hydration and a storage bag that straps between the bars under his bike seat so we would have a place for keys and snacks and whatever we might need as we are out for the long run so to speak. This might be our summer Sunday thing which would be wonderful! Having a wingman is as wonderful as having running friends which are more valuable than gold! Don’t have one? Get one! You’ll understand when you do.