Like each Olympiad, as we tucked the girls in on Christmas night, they declared it the best Christmas ever. Quick pause for a parent high-five!
I woke up the next morning to find them downstairs, surrounded by their new presents, fervently cutting up styrofoam and cardboard. I started to ask what they were doing cutting up my good styrofoam and not playing with any of their new presents, but stopped. They were clearly having fun.
There are so many expectations these days of both parents and kids that simple, spontaneous joy often feels like the first thing to go. So, I embraced vacation Dad, listened to the course grind of the scissors, and started the coffee.
Cecilia and Ally have spent many weekend mornings cheering me, or Michelle, on at various finishing lines. They have gone to the Boston Marathon almost every year they’ve been alive. They have been unofficial timers and participants at Thursday track workouts. They are quite used to me referring to Desi, Shalane, and Meb as if they are my personal friends. They are still young enough to think that most other parents get up and run in the dark.
So they really didn’t bat an eye as I’ve been enthusiastically talking about my “friend” Eluid Kipchoge after he destroyed the marathon world record two weeks ago. I was reminded in this article just why he remains a good role model for the girls and how many running lessons translate to good parenting lessons, too:
Overcome challenges – do not let that tricky math problem get the best of you
Keep calm and carry on – no one plays a new piano song right the first time, frustration isn’t going to help anyone
Planning is key – flash cards, piano, reading: a well-documented routine keeps everyone (i.e., Dad) happy
Be humble – even if you do get on the podium, Dad is still making dinner and walking the dog
Maybe one day the girls will grow up to write a musical about runners!
We start Saturday where we always start…..
The anticipation had been building for a couple weeks. We showed them YouTube videos, read them the synopsis (we’ve found this really helps cut down on “whispered” questions during performances), had long dinner conversations about Oz, showed them more YouTube videos (we were a little worried about some parts for Ally so we used exposure therapy – it worked) and of course had the official cast recording playing 24/7. At least with these songs, I can easily sidestep the urge to explain how bad a president Hoover was to them.
Seeing a four year old break down Popular with dance moves is actually kind of impressive. Even if she is missing the point of the lyrics.
Saturday, the day had finally arrived and it all culminated in Ally appearing in our room at 5 a.m., all ready to go.
We (Michelle) have created musical fanatics. Yes, we are recording the Tony’s tonight for them. Yes, I will be watching the US/Mexico game in the basement.
Here’s how the rest of an “awesome” (Cece quote) Saturday went…..
If you live near Boston you have a spot for Patriot’s Day. Our spot for the past ten years has been just past mile 10 outside Natick town center.
The girls and I spent 3 hours there today cheering the wheelchair athletes, the professional athletes, the disabled athletes and all the other types of athletes out there today running their dream.
Maybe some day I’ll be at mile 10 cheering one of my girls. You never know.
Here are some photos that capture the day and the mood at the greatest race in the world. Continue reading
I am officially adding a decent pub to burritos and good pizza on the list of things that are difficult to find when moving out to the suburbs. For the last two weeks of these constant slate colored days both of us have been wishing for warm comfort food and dark beer. The kind of place that smells gently of bitters and fry oil with fogged windows that shield you from thinking of what’s outside.
Or, basically nothing we could find within a 20 mile radius of our house.
There are certainly places to drink out in the ‘burbs, but most are faux-authentic chains trying so, so hard or dark paneled Legion halls steeped in the smoke of unfiltered Winstons. Not places you want to bring the kids or kick back and finish the crossword puzzle that the fish and chips came wrapped in.
I drove into Boston on Sunday morning to attend Race-Mania, which has become the unofficial kickoff to the endurance season in the Northeast. It might not be spring yet, but you can at least sniff it. Time to start cleaning gear and firming up those race plans for the year. No better way to kick-start flagging motivation or find an inspiring race or new piece of gear than an expo dedicated to all things endurance racing.
Training for endurance sports can often be a lonely pursuit, even if you’re on a team or have a coach, so it’s always nice to emerge from the training bubble and mix and mingle with other people that think about run cadence, single versus double leg power meters or what flavor of gel is best at mile fourteen of your run. You are not crazy. You are not alone. You are just an endurance athlete.