Ahhh, the beginning of Track season. 32 degrees, but the sun was out and the wind was dead. “Shorts and T-Shirt” weather, as one of our brightest observed. My view of the track has always been linked closely with pain…and joy…and hurt…and triumph…and nausea…and pride…and…well, you get the picture.
From the other side of the track as a volunteer coach, I recalled my initiation into track at fifteen. A green pea, I thought over a decade of ballet wold lend me the coordination and speed it took to be a hurdler. Yet, I took notice of how much fun the distance runners had out on their runs… and I fell over a lot of hurdles.
I laughed as some of our Cross Country runners deserted the distance crew to be sprinters, and wondered what painful episode caused the sudden change in heart.
Quickly pulled back to reality by my run-away child, I caught the glance of every non-parent in the weight room as she stumbled hazardly through bars and leg press machines.
Practice rolled on, and I fed my 8 month old a bottle while attempting to coax my stubborn ‘almost-3” year old down from the bleachers, I collected goals and last week’s mileage from the distance runners. Learn new names, calculate workout paces, establish new goals…and chase after my 3 year old who believes with all her little heart that she can keep up with the ‘runners’ as they exit the track to log some miles.
The thrill of the “chase” made me question my motives, Why coach? Why drag my 2 kids up to the track?
Truth? Track is a piece of me. My little peepsters misbehave and make the experience a wonderful combination of gut wrenching and embarrassment on some days, but being at the track never was a completely comforting experience.
I had drifted towards distance runners, just like I had at fifteen.
I always wonder how people know what their passion is. (Little kids on American Idol that say they’ve known since they were 2 they wanted to sing.) Perhaps it’s just what you gravitate to….what you love so much that any pain that goes along with it is overshadowed by the triumphs.
Maybe my daughters will learn to love distance running and it’s masochistic ways, too. If not in running than in something that they question why they love, until they are out there in it. I’m trying to instill an experience in them that will help shape their determination, by simply showing them who I am. I might not have it all figured out yet, but maybe that’s a good thing to accept early on in parenting.
Practice isn’t perfect, but it can make it.
Happy Track Season,