Monday, June 20, 2011

Making Running a Family Affair

Yesterday was Father's Day, and I hope the gift I gave has a lasting impact.

No, not the gift I gave my father, although I have no doubt he will put it to good use and enjoy it. But the 'gift' I gave my son.

I know, I know. It's not typical for dads to give gifts to their children on Father's Day, but this is not the typical gift.

See, I'm giving the gift of running to my son.

Now, my prayer is that he takes to it much better than I did at his age.

Jayson is 10, almost 11, and loves sports. In fact, he loves playing baseball. He can't get enough of it. Last fall, he was in a fall instructional league where standings were not kept since the purpose of the league was to help the players improve for the spring season. With this being the case, it's not uncommon for players on one team to play for other teams in other games when teams don't have enough players to show up. One Saturday last fall, Jayson's team was playing the early game, but I was unable to go because I had to work a football game. Around 4 p.m., I received a text my bride: "I'm going to kill your son. He's now playing game number 3."

Apparently, my bride of nearly 14 years does not appreciate the beauty of spending the entire day at the ballpark. :-)

It's no secret where Jayson gets his love of sports. *Turns and look into the mirror.* But it's also no secret where he gets his *ahem* laziness and love of laying around the house, watching TV or playing video games. *Turns and looks into the mirror again.*

It's scary sometimes to look at my son and see the path he's on. I mean, it's like looking in a time machine and seeing myself at that age. Jayson loves much of the same things that I do. He loves many of the same foods, all the same sports, loves to laugh, loves to have fun and loves to sleep in and lay around the house whenever possible. And much to my chagrin, Jayson's developed a taste for coffee.

And knowing all the pitfalls I struggled with growing up, I want to do all I can to help Jayson to avoid some of them or at least overcome them more easily. One of the biggest areas I struggled was with my weight and lack of exercise.

It took me until my 30s for me to start taking my health serious and then it wasn't until I was 38 before I took up running as a lifestyle. I don't want my son to wait that long. I don't want my son to deal with some of the health issues I've battle. I want my son to win the battle of the bulge before it begins.

The challenge is making running fun for him. Like I said, Jayson is a mini-me. My dad took up running in his 30s, and while I did a few fun runs with him, running was not my thing. I did not like it. For the longest time, it turned me off.

But I believe I've found my 'in' with him.

First, as mentioned previously, Jayson loves baseball. Running will help him improve in the sport he loves. He is my son, and I've never been the swiftest of foot, so every little bit helps right.

Secondly, I found a race that will be fun, challenging and rewarding for him. So, yesterday (Father's Day) I signed us up to run the Secret City Half Marathon on Nov. 20 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Now, Jayson will not being doing all 13.1 miles on race day. Rather, the organizers of the Secret City Half are holding a Half Marathon 4 Kids where kids run 12 miles leading up to race day (ideally in 1-mile intervals) and complete the final 1.1 on race day. Kids get their own bib, race t-shirt and finisher's medal, and it's FREE!

I love this concept! What a great way to help get kids active and involved in running!

The Secret City Half will be my second half marathon within a month. (I'm also running the Iron Horse Half in Midway, Ky. on Oct. 23.) I have now real goal set for the Secret City other than to finish. But I'm so excited about getting to share this race day with my son.

Let the running begin!

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