In May I was working hard to improve my 5k time for an upcoming race. I was running about 3.1 miles in 33 minutes, and I wanted to get it down to under 30 minutes. Steven knew my goal and was supportive in his own competitive spirit way.
When I would head out for my runs, Steven would take the kids out to play and wait for me to complete my my first 1.5 miles (the loop I take in the neighborhood is exactly 1.5 miles). He would shout out my time, and then yell, "14:08. Pick it up, babe." Geez, I was keeping a good pace. I was going to finish well under 30 minutes, but apparently he wanted me to finish in 27 minutes. His goal for me. Not my goal. I didn't get a 'good job'. I didn't get a 'well done'. I got a 'pick it up'.
Despite my annoyance at his kind of encouragement, it did make me work harder. If he had good jobbed me, I would have slowed it up knowing I was already under the pace I set for myself. His hard nosed encouragement worked. It allowed me to finish my race in 28:16 (official time).
(me and my gal pal, Jackie)
I tell you about Steven's unconventional encouraging tactics so you can appreciate Little Man's encouraging ways. The night before my race, Steven ran. Of course he finished in 21:34. Yes, he ran 3.1 miles in 21:34. He placed 4th in his age group. An amazing job. Of course he wasn't happy because he didn't win. Such a competitive man.
Anyway, since Steven runs fast he was in the lead group. We were waiting for him to finish when the walkers passed by us at the tail end. Little Man was getting bored so he bent down and started playing with some chat in the road. He was right at the edge where the walkers were passing by. I didn't even think he was paying attention until he looked up at the rather large lady right in front of him, moving very slow, and said, "Man, PICK IT UP!"
The lady had to have heard him. I wanted to die. My friend, whose husband was also running, died from laughing. I totally chalked this experience up to him being like his father.
If you think that is bad, it gets worse.
A few days ago, we were at our neighborhood pool and Jackie's sister was working with her oldest girl trying to get her comfortable with jumping in. The poor thing was so fearful of the deep end. She stood so close to the edge ready to jump, but just couldn't bring herself to the actual plunge. My heart went out to her. Wanting so badly to do something, but not being able to take that last little step. Then Little Man swims by and offers his two cents, "Man, you've been standing there FOREVER!"
Yes, another 'I Want To Crawl In a Hole' moment brought to you by Little Man. At times he is so compassionate and caring, just like his father, but when it comes to physical activity he only understands one mentality. It goes along the lines of do it to the fullest or don't do it at all. Just like his father.
Now here's the true confession time. My friends pointed out the other night that I am the same way. We were discussing a run that two of my friends did. One friend piped up that I would have not enjoyed it because there were so many walkers that made it impossible for you to run the entire race. I'm not one to pay money to enjoy a leisure run. If I'm going to run a race, it will be for a purpose. That's why I've only done 3 races in my entire life.
This next part is very insensitive of me, and I know it...now. (Thank you, Jackie, Erica, and Melinda for helping me see the error in my ways). I said to the girls, "I just don't understand why on Earth you would do a race and walk the entire thing. Unless you're a speed walker or something."
Their faces just dropped and then they started laughing. They know me too well. Erica, the wonderful fitness instructor, said, "Amanda, for some people getting off the couch and beginning that first step is a big deal. Walking the entire 3.1 miles is even a bigger deal."
And then I hung my head in shame...
I am just like my husband, and our competitive spirits have been compounded into one little, tiny boy named Little Man. May his competitors and coaches be able to handle all of him. Amen.