January 23, 2013

Developing a strategy to achieve YOUR goals...


My teenager is proudly not an athlete, which is kind of disturbing for dad (whose profession involves a lot of strenuous, physical work) and me (an accomplished athlete who spent well over a decade deeply and passionately involved in sports).

Though he generally appears to not care at all about how nonathletic he is, my son was groaning on the way to school the other day about being the slowest runner in his class and how people (primarily his shitty "best friend") were giving him grief about this. Coincidentally, that afternoon was to be the class' monthly timed run.

The coach in me combined with the mom in me spoke up quickly in a burning desire to help, stupidly thinking the objective of the run would be to finish as fast as possible:
Okay, I said. What's your plan?
Oh, he said. Well, I usually start off at sort of a slowish jog so I don't waste all of my energy at once. I'll go part of the way, like to the fire hydrant, jogging like this. Then I'll walk for a bit so I don't get too tired.  
Finding this take on pacing hilarious, I momentarily stopped breathing so that I didn't laugh  out loud and make him feel badly. That's because I'm a caring mom. But I did kind of gag on my bitten tongue.
Then, after a minute or so, I'll start jogging again, he continued. I like to sort of speed up and slow down to save my breath. At the end, I usually sprint for the last couple of feet.
And that's working for you? I asked.
Well, pretty much, he answered. I don't get too sweaty and tired by the end.

I'm not judging. Different objective.

However, when queried about the ceaseless teasing and comparing it to the misery of getting sweaty and tired for at the most 15 minutes, he agreed that perhaps he might want to make some adjustments to the plan. Knowing he wouldn't go for wearing a sparkly skirt, and damn, I'd left mine at home anyway, we devised the following:

His mission, should he choose to accept it
  • run/jog the whole way
  • don't come in last
Setting up realistic goals and executing the simple plan perfectly, satisfaction was his.

The "best friend" was last.



17 comments:

  1. What the wha?! A for reals post. I like it. Way to be a kick ass mom.

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    1. Thanks! I try. He doesn't make it easy. But I guess I knew I wasn't signing up for "easy" when I had kids!

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  2. Oh snap, MegG is calling you out. The thing is, she's right. But that's good. And a good post.

    So assuming that you didn't take liberties with your claims and in truth was actually a member of the National Chess Team, I'll assume you know a bit about sweating.

    Advice to the kid is spot on. Just the right amount of "homie, please..." and in a dose not so overwhelming. You could also tell your son that the "friend" of his will probably end up working at a car wash and that he will go on to prove that Pluto is actually is a planet, because YOU KNOW that's how shit works out. But that might be too much pressure.

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    1. HA! He will probably do just that. And yeah, I know a thing or two about sweating!

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  3. I love his goal. I know what you mean about not laughing at him. Once when my son made a bad grade on a test and was *supposed* to have me sign it - he forged my signature, but he messed up so he whited it out and re-signed. Needless to say he was caught, but damn I thought that was funny. BUT I did my best not to laugh. not really related but your post made me think of that incident. :)

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    1. That is hilarious! GREAT story! I think I have one of those "mustn't laugh" situations every single day!

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  4. love it... the plan, everything, and the fact that it worked. Now comes the next plan, is he going to get fit (as in excersice) before the next class run?

    I know what is missing, and I'm not saying he needs it, but the ablity to hurt... I had it in the '90's, but not anymore... The ablity to push into the red zone and hold it here! I almost always run in a comfort zone, what about you?

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    1. My husband and I joke about how I don't have a comfort zone. And that is part of where I need to step back regarding my son. You are absolutely correct about him not having the ability to hurt – rather, the interest in hurting! In training, when appropriate, I will "put on the hurt" but I feel that there is so much benefit to training just beneath that zone. I seldom race because it really takes a lot out of me. Having some chronic pain issues makes it difficult to determine which red zone I'm working in!

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  5. Kids give us so many opportunities to practice our poker faces. Love the way he listened and the way the story ended! Well played.

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    1. Thanks! Next step: get him to run/bike/move on a regular basis!

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  6. My daughter had a different experience with running in gym class but it wound up being a teaching moment. Let me explain:

    Gym is pass/fail in our high school. As such, most students don't care. The gym teachers came up with the idea that gym should get a grade that is the equivalent of a core course (math, science, etc) to make the kids care. Since they weren't able to document how they were actually going to figure out the grade, they weren't allowed this status change.

    My daughter, a sophomore at the time, was captain of the cross country team having been a varsity distance runner even while in middle school. She was out sick the day that the class had to run a timed mile. They needed to run faster than 10:00 for the mile to pass (totally arbitrary from the teacher's perspective). Since my daughter was out sick that day (it being the last day of the marking period), the teacher tried to fail her because she couldn't prove to her that she could run a mile.

    Rather than argue with an idiot, we called the dept chairperson and the principal to find out the policy. We asked them how a girl who ran a 22:00 5k representing the school during the marking period was unable to be given yet another date to make up to prove that she could run a mile under 10:00. We got the grade changed to incomplete and after they convinced the teacher of the error of her ways, it was changed to pass after she made my daughter time trial a mile (in 6:30ish).

    That same teacher tried to fail another girl on the team because she ran it in 9:00 but didn't try hard enough (she should have been able to run it in 7:00). I can only imagine the lessons my daughter actually learned from this teacher.

    Make sure your son doesn't believe the solution to his problem is to get slower friends. Kids have a unique way of looking at problems sometimes.

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    1. That teacher needs to run a timed mile – wet and naked. In the cold. Barefoot. Under 10 minutes or the bitch loses her job.

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  7. Did I miss the bra winner announcement??
    I think the fact that a teen will even talk with you let alone take your advice on run strategy speaks volumes about your parenting. Well done!

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    1. You missed it. You didn't win. But there will be more fabulous free shit given away – so keep coming back :D

      Thanks for the parenting compliment. I think the willow switch behind the toolshed helped. Just kidding.

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  8. Victory! Cool that y'all were able to make a plan and see something happen.

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    1. It was pretty satisfying all the way around. Thanks.

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  9. Nice! And your son's running goals are the same as mine. I was a sprinter back in the day, and I just never learned how to do the endurance thing, and I'm pretty sure it's partly because I hate delayed gratification. I also hate being winded and could never figure out how to pace myself to sustain running/jogging the whole way. The only thing that kept me from being last was hating to be last. Glad your son's poopy friend was the caboose.

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Say it. But if you can't own your shit, don't dump it on me.

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