Monday, November 15, 2010

Worst Efforts

For the past few months, I have been losing the battle of focusing on diet and health issues. I am sliding back into a pattern of emotional eating and am largely out of my exercise routine. These things have never been areas of strength for me and yet, it is vitally important to me to set a good example for my children. The truth is, however, that I am a fraud and a hypocrite, not to mention a closet eater. At least, I'm closeted to the kids. D is often my partner in late night snacking, as in everything else (everything, that is, except for exercise where I am a hopeless sloth and he is a disciplined runner).

So, unsurprisingly, I was not looking forward to our local Turkey Trot yesterday. I pretty much convinced myself in the days leading up to it that the fatigue I've been feeling so much lately would overtake me and I would be unable to run the full 5K. But I decided that come what may, I would keep up with my son.

That proved not to be difficult, actually. N made it about half a mile before the complaints started. And the full-throated, high-pitched whining was not too far behind. Now, he's only 6  (almost 7!) and 3 miles is not  easy for a 6 year old, but I was really surprised. He did worse than last year, when he at least managed to get close to the turn-around before really letting loose with the vitriol and hot fuss. We don't force races upon him. He ALWAYS expresses interest (and not in the mamby-pamby 1 milers, mind you). And of course, he NEVER paces himself. Despite all the soccer and running and cycling he's done since our last 5K, he was actually less ready, it would seem. Being my son, he had plenty of perfectly legitimate reasons for why he could not possibly finish the race: his leg hurt, we did not feed him before the race, he hates races, we force him to run, he neck hurt, his shoes weren't right, I was embarrassing him (I was running backwards facing him and singing Journey. I call it encouragement.), etc.

n was in the jogging stroller, except for the brief sprints she did. At one point she was outrunning N. Talk about adding insult to injury! He rallied, ever so briefly, if only to establish sibling dominance. He still whined even then. He complained that it wasn't fair that she was running faster than him. We tried to cut deals about alternating walking with running. Frustrated, we even offered him the jogging stroller. No, he preferred martyrdom and even through all the afflictions imposed by his cruel parents, he maintained a degree of vanity.

Finally, belatedly, and for N, begrudgingly, we made a final sprint for the finish line, after which he turned to me and said, "I finished ahead of you."

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