Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Go for it sister!

Ever since I started running, one of the things I began doing was cheering on other runners I saw while I was out doing things, driving in my car, on the bus, etc. Regardless of how speedy or efficient they looked, whether male or female, young, old, skinny, fat, slow, fast, I took to waving and calling out "go for it brother/sister!" (depending on the gender of the runner, of course...)

Funny how habits stick with you. Years later, I'm still doing it, and now the tradition has passed on to my son, Jonah. At 4 and a half years old, he hollers out "go for it sister!" every time he sees a runner out doing their thing. (Still have to work on the gender appropriate cheer with him- even boys get the "go for it sister!"- hilarious!)

I love it. One of my fave scriptures is Hebrews 12:1-2:
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. NKJV
That image of there being a huge crowd cheering each of us on as we pursue our faith with God always overwhelms me. I always visualized those voices calling out and urging me on, but now those voices have a human sound- Jonah in the back seat cheering on runners of every description and size as they go for it.

Thank God for kids. I know Jonah's cheers give me juice to push through my flabby cramps to make the distance, and the cheers from heaven still give me the push I need to keep going forward toward the prize.

Ricardo is going down...

Last night I ran 7.5 km without pause. Tonight, I nailed a 5K tempo run. Ricardo says he doesn't need to train because "there's no quit in [him]."

He better hope there isn't. Because I'm not letting up until I cross the finish.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Guess I'm a betting man...

So the school I teach at engages populations of students from two very different yet challenging communities. About half the students hail from North Preston, which is the largest indigenous community of black people in Canada.

I've enjoyed my year at the school, and one of the brightest spots is how I've been able to forge really positive and warm relationships with many of the students from North Preston. There are many students from this community who arrive with the expectation that things will not go well due to negative past experiences. I haven't been perfect, by any stretch, but the hard work to build a shared normal has even paid off with students who may not be the most academically engaged but have come to appreciate the structure and support I provide.

One kid (who we'll call Ricardo, for anonymity's sake) has been talking smack all year long about how he can beat me at whatever we happen to be talking about in class. Until a little while ago, that was generally basketball (which he is pretty good at), hockey or football.

But about 10 days ago he told me how old I was and that he'd cream me in a running race.

Now I haven't REALLY run in years- I go for a run every once in a while, but I'm not dedicated like I used to be when I trained for half-marathons in Montreal. But I couldn't help myself. He bet me that he could beat me straight up in a race. So I agreed to race him if I could pick the distance. He grinned and said sure.

I told him we'd run 10km the last day of school for bragging rights once and for all. He shook on it, and I have been training since.

Tonight I went for the longest run in ages, the longest since training for the demi-marathon de Montreal in 2002 with my friend Matt. I ripped off a 7.5K in just over 42 minutes at an average heartrate of 180 BPM.

Here's the route I ran:

Be afraid Ricardo. Be very afraid. I'm going to run you into the ground... :) And this old man will get to call you a loser AND get back on track with running.

Who knew petty competition could be such a great motivator? LOL...