Last fall, my 8 year old daughter took up with a before-school group called Girls on the Run. It is, in summary, a very worthy “girl power” sort of organization that encourages girls to embrace exercise (with all the attendant long term social and psychological benefits) by training them up to run 5K races.
It went well, so she decided to do it again this spring. Since I rarely attend her non-school activities (officially because of the “Father Knows Best” political economy of the household, unofficially because I am useless at getting out of the office on time), I promised to run the spring 5K with her.
The last time I ran for anything other than last call or a plane was my freshman year in high school, which, as you can see from the Billboard top 10 from this same week at that time… well, it wasn’t recent. I downloaded a New Balance guide to starting a 5K and I have been pounding the pavement in preparation. It hasn’t been pretty, given how hilly the beighborhood is, but I no longer feel like I’m about to have a stroke while “running” (Please god let me collapse on a main street so I’m found by someone other than a Salvadoran nanny who has visa issues and doesn’t want to talk to la Policia, is that so much to ask?) and I’m able to speed up a bit should I pass a female under the age of 30.
The real lesson of all of this though has been to disabuse me of the idea that “match fit” is a stupid notion pedaled by soccer commentators as a camoflage for players having a ho-hum game. I’ve spent plenty of time arsing about on the house Nordic Track and hotel elliptical machines, and I was in no way prepared to imitate certain learning challenged movie characters. Extrapolate that to haring up and down a field for 90 minutes, and feel the lactic acid burn…
So when people ask me what I’ve got out of the training, I will of course say that I’ve had the satisfaction of proving to myself that I can do it and that I supported my daughter… but inside I’ll know it’s the realization that even if I’d had any skill as a footballer, I would never have got closer to the mythical status of “match fit” than I would have to flying through the air on my own wings.
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