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.
That right there is the face of my son. He hates to work out but loves to be on the team. He struggles with putting in the work every day to ready himself for things like Football and Wrestling and Track. It isn’t that he can’t or even that he won’t. It’s more like he puts it off until it’s too late in the day and then decides that tomorrow is another day. He knows how important it is for sure and his intentions are good but in terms of determination for the physicality of preparation let’s say he needs prodding and more support than my other son who looks like he’s chiseled out of marble. That being said, football is right around the corner. Hot practices, awesomely long drills, never enough water for my liking all waiting for my son like a firing squad waiting for the condemned to show up. My son is a BIG boy…a big boned solid 220lb 6’3″ beautiful specimen who just doesn’t like heat or physical exertion. So I worry about him puking and overheating and hurting himself for lack of preparation. Therein lies my effort to make running and workouts sound fun. Very “Mom” of me but I can’t help it! So I took him on my morning run today to get the wheels in motion for getting his wind. I did forget his stupid ankle is still healing from what we thought was a bad twist / sprain that is taking forever to heal. He complained about it when we got back and then I felt bad. He made the entire 3 miles with just a few stops for water and to catch his breath but he made it. I talked to him the whole way to take his mind off the run, encouraged him when I thought he was tiring and jabbered on about stuff that he probably didn’t care about but listened to anyway to get him to the finish. When he bounced back, a giant water, banana and yogurt later, he seemed pleased with himself. That’s the feeling that drives me but it stuck with me the moment I finished that first mile on June 27, 2011 and it does every day. James isn’t so sticky so it seems. He needs some Ductape to stick that feeling to him so he wants to do it again and again and again. When he gets there, watch out! He’ll be scary AF when he takes the field, the mat or the starting point with his disc / jav. I want to be part of the reason he gets there because I want him to truly enjoy what he’s participating in. He likes it but because he struggles with the practice part and the working out part it’s less enjoyable due to the struggle. And lets face it, lugging around 220 lbs makes everything harder, longer and heavier, however, with practice those things get better and easier. I am motivated to help him get there. Today my run, despite the fact that I am actually in training for The Falmouth Road Race, was not about me. It was about another in need so the stops and the slower pace were irrelevant to me. It was all about James and I was happy to make it so. I have learned that I love helping and motivating others a lot. If I were younger I might be a marathon coach says the girl who hasn’t run more than 13.1. LOL! I could totally see me doing it because talking people up during a run to make sure they don’t quit inspires me…drives me…..gives me strength.
Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s what James and I were doing a year ago:
That’s right! Prepping for football and notice the same exhausted face he has on and the oh-so-happy face of exuberance I’m wearing! I do love running and even more when my buddy James can come with me! Love that kid and I hope we can always pound some pavement together because he makes me feel like I make a difference to him even when I’m a little annoying like the gnat in the summer sunrise on the African plains…ok maybe not that annoying!