Sunday, July 21, 2013

How am I doing?

My attempt at running my first 5K this past May must have caused some brain damage, because shortly after I managed to stagger across the finish line at that race, I actually went, of my own free will, and signed up for even more running, this time with a beginner’s running group.
I figured if I could (barely) survive running 3.1 miles once, I might as well prove I could do it again.
My new running group meets twice a week, where our two coaches, Dame’ and Liisa, have slowly whipped our lazy bums into shape. We started with walking and then running, and six weeks later, for a bunch of former non-runners, we’re not looking too shabby.
But the biggest surprise hasn’t been faster miles or stronger legs. It comes from being coached.
A mom spends her whole life coaching her kids. It’s our job to cajole and convince, from the first bites of baby food to first days of kindergarten to first job applications. We give them high fives. We pat them on the back, literally and figuratively.
If we were a talking action figure, you’d press a button on our back and we’d say, “Good job!”
We do a whole lotta coaching. But who’s coaching us? 
Sure, our spouses give us kudos, but they have to; that’s part of their job description.
When was the last time someone we weren’t related to said “Good job” to us moms? And no, Mother’s Day does not count.
We moms are so busy raising our own kids, we don’t get to give many high fives to each other. We commiserate and trade child care tips, but we don’t actively coach each other.
We should have a special mom coach hotline that we call at the end of each day. Our mom coaches would say something like this: “Wow, Mom! You got up at 6:30 a.m., got everyone to school on time, worked all day, picked everyone up, made dinner, folded three loads of laundry, paid some bills, cleaned the kitchen, and now everyone’s in bed on time! High five! Now get back out there and do it all over again tomorrow!”
No one has invented the mom hotline yet, but I’m getting a good dose of coaching from Coach Dame’ and Coach Liisa. Each week, they persuade us to run a little bit farther. They tell us what a great job we’re doing. They cajole, they insist, they praise, they promise. 
Our coaches have managed to trick us into doing all kinds of crazy athletic stunts. Like the time last week when Coach Dame’ sidled up beside me as I huffed and puffed along one trail.
We’re going to go for it in 30 seconds, she said.
Go for it? I said. As in, run faster? I’m about to keel over and we’re going to speed it up?
Yeah, she said. You can do it.
Ready, she said. GO!
And I did. I ran faster. I ran faster because I could, but I also ran faster because Coach Dame’ made me believe I could.
“Feel your power!” she yelled as we ran side by side. “Feel strong!”
It worked. I felt my power. I felt strong.
Good job! she said.
Thanks, Coach.

No comments: