Over the last couple months, between watching friends finish their IronMan race, and doing my own marathon, I have been amazed at the number of people who are “older” who are completing these races. I’m talking in their 50”s, 60’s, and 70’s. Maybe it is because it isn’t until your kids have moved away to college and you’ve changed the locks that only then do you have time to concentrate on yourself. Whatever the reason, I have a theory that with age and especially parenthood comes the toughness required to be an athlete.
Pain may deter some from running. The reality is you are already prepared. Plantar fasciitis of the heel pales to stepping on a Lego, in the dark. IT band syndrome is nothing compared to a little person deciding to grow sideways inside your belly for the greater part of a year, using your bladder as her personal trampoline. Knee pain would feel like Swedish massage compared to the inevitable tantrum head butt by a 3 year old that always connects with cross hair accuracy with the bridge of your nose. Parenting can hurt. Running hurts less.
Some may be deterred by their lack of stamina. If you have survived a snowday with subzero temperature in February, at home with several kids and have heard “Mommy” no less than 3,534 times, you’ve got stamina. If you have at least one sick child and your only goal of the day is keeping the toddler from playing with “The bucket” and you succeed, you’ve nailed stamina. You need no more stamina than what is required to endure a 35 minute trip from Jamestown to Valley City, with a 3 year old screaming at the top of her lungs, because she doesn’t like the Johnny Cash CD you are playing, and not crack to her tantrum. Parenting IS stamina.
Being afraid of being too tired from running may be a fear. Tired is having a baby who eats every 2 hours…for 8 months. Tired is having a dog with diarrhea every hour through the night… for two nights. Running 3 miles is not tired. In fact the irony is it is pretty energizing. Tired is burning the candle at both ends to just allow yourself an hour of “me time” which usually only coincides with the clock striking past 11pm.
Plain old fear can prevent some from starting to be active. Fear is sending your child down the hallway to a surgical suite, hoping and praying the hands you just gave him to are skillful and competent. Fear is a 5 minute shower, knowing the 2 year old and dog are unattended in the house. Fear is looking around the yard and only counting 2 heads instead of 3; your gut clenches and your heart drops to your feet and after screaming relentlessly you find the youngest inside the car blissfully flipping every switch and knob, saying “I dwive!”
Some may claim they don’t have the patience to train and they may get bored. You have all the patience you need if you have stood over an 8 year old trying to paint his pinewood derby car, with paint dripping and pooling, and resisted the urge to just do it yourself. You are ready to train if you have painfully sat through your child reading the longest children’s book known to man, “One fish Two fish” and didn’t say “Let’s finish it another time.”
I know that I could never have completed a marathon in my twenties. Parenting in itself should be its own endurance sport. It is through parenting that I have really come to know strength, because parenting sure ain’t for sissies. The reality is once you become a parent, you don’t have the luxury of quitting. Your home becomes command central for an army of little people, who will try to test you to your breaking point. General McArthur had nothing on my 6 year old the days the wrong skirt is dirty. She could break the best Delta Force or Seal Team member. They’d give up information to just make the screaming STOP. But I’m thankful to God for them. They gave me the greatest gift, which is parenthood, and all that comes along with it. And the opportunity to discover strengths I never knew I possessed.
|her skirt was dirty=flailing back-bending tantrum|