Running the zoo race today, my first 5K. My goal is to keep up with Gabriel. This has me thinking of the goals and benchmarks we set up for ourselves. It is good to have extrinsic motivators. I like to use them for academic purposes too. Things like spelling bees or speech events– any platform will serve as a motivator, which frees me, the usual extrinsic motivator, from that burden. So today I have two motivators of my own: the race itself and my 7-year-old. Briefly I considered the fact that certain running friends might check my time and laugh at my snaily pace, but I dismissed that as a motivator. Times are Greek to me, and I categorize those folks who understand them into the running psycho lot (where I’ve also lovingly, admiringly placed my husband). But it does matter to me that I not slow down Gabriel, who’s afraid he’ll not know which way to go. (This is his first big race so he doesn’t yet have that frame of reference that he can follow the hordes of running psychos in front of him. Note his pre-race expression.) Actually, before I began running as a form of life-extension, I would label any and every voluntary runner as a psycho. I would see them along the road, beet red, looking like wounded marines, and I’d think, “What a way to ruin a perfectly beautiful day…” So, no offense to you serious runners out there– I’m just jealous. And for the record, my time was 34 minutes something. Also, for the record, I was NOT able to keep up with Gabriel, whose time was 29 minutes something. By mile one it was clear to me that either I’d die trying to keep his pace or let him go on ahead. Either way, he’d be running solo. Poor thing. At first he kept circling me and waving me forward. But after the hill (I’m talking the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo hill that most folks, including me, think should have a heart condition warning to walk up) I just waved him forward and prayed he wouldn’t get lost in the throng. I knew Bob and Luke would be waiting somewhere ahead as he came across the finish.
I’m glad Bob’s passion for running has rubbed off on my boys, and the truth is, running with them was a pleasure. When it was over, I mean. After the race we got to walk around the zoo. That was fun too. And we were motivated to keep walking by the reward of seeing cool animals. Goal-setting is a good thing. Right after the race I talked to a gal who suggested I run a half-marathon. “If I can do it, you can do it.” she said. Hmmm. We’re always raising the bar. We’ll see if Gabriel needs a running buddy for his first half marathon… I’ll be right beside him for mile one. 🙂