Slow Sunday Six

Penny doesn't get the whole selfie thing.
Penny’s more into the running than taking selfies.

Jack lay prone on the floor. Every drawer in his dresser was open.

“I can’t find any shorts,” he said.

I closed a few drawers and dug through the bottom one, finding his gym shorts from the seventh grade.

I had brought up a pair of my own running shorts as a suggestion. That didn’t go over well. We are going to have to take him shopping for more gear this week.

This would be our second long run since Jack told me he wanted to run a half marathon. If we ever got out of the house.

He’d built a good base: a couple miles a couple times a week with his club at the Y for the last year. He said he liked the running and was good at it. So, slowly, we’re working him up to a half marathon.

I was thinking one in May or June.

I’m also supposed to be training for the Race to Robie Creek in April. It’ll be my ninth consecutive year in the run, and I’m not worried about it, mostly because I have never come in dead last. Not once. In fact, I always finish before they’ve run out of beer.

2,500 people or so run that particular half, so they do tend to stock up on the beer. But still, not last. Not ever.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure that my own training regimen calls for a longer run than I would be doing with Jack today, but whatever. Mike and I ran on Saturday, and I figure two consecutive days of medium length runs is as good as a long-ish run. That’s the kind of math I do.

Last weekend Jack and I ran just over five miles in the rain and he did well. We walked longer intervals in the second half, but he barely complained. In fact he said he enjoyed it.

I was proud of myself for curbing my normal bossiness. It’s a rather difficult thing to do.

This time I felt compelled to give a little more input.

“Can I suggest something?” I said. If he kept running on his toes and bouncing up and down he was going to use up all his energy the first two miles.

“Yeah, they said something like that in Tri-Club,” he said. Score one for Mom. Something I said reiterated something his coach already told him, proving I’m not a total idiot.

“Hey, if you run a little more flat footed, you won’t bounce as much,” I said. “And the sporadic parkour is impressive, but might get you injured.”

“Mom, enough,” he said. I’d reached my bossy quota by mile three.

He started pooping out about a third of the way through the run and we paused to gawk at paddlers on the river.

Paddler on the Boise River Park
Paddler on the Boise River Park

One of the very best things about where we live is access to open space and that includes the Greenbelt – a 25 mile cycling/running/walking pathway that follows the Boise River, past some residential areas and acres of parks. Today we would pass three traditional City parks and a whitewater park over the course of three miles out and back.

Another great thing about where we live is running into friends enjoying this same amenity, and the excuse it gave for us to take a little extra walk break when we ran into them. It’s still a small town.

I was elated at the minimal amount of cajoling it took Jack to get out here and continue with our training routine, the forty-five minute delay in our start due to wardrobe issues notwithstanding. Jack has been known to give something a shot, and if he’s not perfect right at first, figure it wasn’t meant to be.

This meant it took years to convince him to get back up on a bike after the first time he pedaled furiously and crashed anyway.

Potty training was rather a nightmare for the same reason.

At about mile four, Jack started shortening the run intervals, stopping with a little defeated grunt each time.

“Can we get a cheeseburger on the way home?”

“Uh, no,” I said, “but I’ve got a half a box of Mike and Ike’s in the car with your name on it.” He picked the pace back up.

I have high hopes for our continued training. Every week will mean new distances. He’ll be impressed by what he’s capable of, and I’ll doubtless have new opportunities to curb my bossy inclinations.

We finished six miles in a little over 75 minutes. Probably the slowest six I’d done in recent history, but today was about distance, not speed, and about (God willing) keeping motivated to come out here the next time.

“So Jack,” I said, casually while we stretched near the car, “six and  half next Sunday, right?”

“You bet.” He said. And I did a little fist pump in my head.


In case you were wondering, a vote once a day, every day, keeps me going. That and the promise of a post run beer. I’ve noticed you haven’t been especially helpful with the beer, but the votes are appreciated. Thanks.


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