Monday, May 14, 2012

"All In the Name of Fun!"

I'm highly competitive by nature.  This has always mocked me in the world of athletics, because I'm terrible at sports.  And when I say terrible, I really mean it.  I have gross gross motor skills,  nonexistent reflexes, and I'm a painfully slow runner.  Did I also mention that I'm barely five feet tall?  So, I've spent most of my life as a frustrated loser, when it comes to athletic ventures.

On Mother's Day, each year, our kids' track team (coached by men, of course) plays what I consider to be a hilarious practical joke by running a "Mother's Race."  This joke is only made funny by the fact that all the (male) coaches think it's "fun" for the Moms, and coordinating this race is their "gift" to us.  Hmmmm...let's see...can I think of a worse way to spend Mother's Day, than to squeeze myself into some spandex and get out on a track with a handful of Type-A moms who actually run marathons in their spare time?  (I'm not making this up.)  Uh.....what happened to bringing Mom breakfast in bed, and giving her flowers and chocolate? 

Anyway, a year ago, they kicked the event off by dividing the women up by age.  Adding insult to injury, they announced your age to the several-hundred people smart enough to keep their rears in the bleachers.  So they all got to find out how old you were before you made a fool of yourself.  Awesome.  In the interest of time, the only "Mother's Race" was a 100 Metre sprint--not my forte, unless it involves chasing an errant toddler.  My valiant efforts that day resulted in nothing more than a pulled muscle and a dismal last-place finish. 

Later that same night, my (then) 8-year-old son decided to solve a mystery for us all-- one that we didn't even know existed.  "Mom," he said with solemnity, "I know why you lost the race today."  [insert awkward silence]  "It's because you're know...."  and then he held up his arms in a circumferential gesture, as if his body had become a blimp.  But not with his arms out to the sides.  Oh, no: with his arms out in front, mimicking huge, imaginary boobs.  And he didn't stop there.  He continued, "Because you're so big.  Everywhere. And that's why everything jiggles so much and and......everything....while you run," still feigning huge, imaginary boobs--which he was now 'jiggling.'  "That's why you lost."

Well, thank you.  Thank you for that verdict and visual depiction.

Each time I tried to forget the incident, I couldn't, because that injured quadriceps haunted me for over a month.  And each day since then, I vowed never again.

This year's race was yesterday.  This year I had only two main goals:

Goal #1--Don't hurt myself.  Really.

Goal #2--Try not to come in dead last, trailing far, far behind every other runner.  But only if it didn't mean compromising Goal #1.

But then I found out this year they decided to change things up a bit, and instead of only offering the 100 Metre sprint, they were offering a Coed 1-Mile run as well.  I've been running as part of a fitness program for several months now, and I'm up to about 3-4 miles.  And although I'm still slow, I've got pretty good stamina.  And the key word was Coed; that meant my kids' father would run it.   Ka-CHING: I had a third goal.

Goal #3--Beat my children's father.

I won't lie.  It wasn't going to be easy.  The man towers a foot over me, his legs are twice as long as mine, and he has beaucoup spare time to work out at the gym every week.  But to make a long story short, against all odds, and certain that I'd never be able to do it, I had my shining moment of glory.  I kept a nice, steady pace the whole race, feeling pretty good.  Then when I saw my chance, I made my move, and overtook him in the home stretch.  At 8m 10s, I beat him by just a few eternal seconds.  And for once in my life, the die-hard competitor in me was triumphant.

Yeah.  I went all Eric Liddell on his Harold Abrams a**. 

Oh, I laughed, and smiled, and said it was "All in the Name of Fun." 

Sure.  Whatever.  'Cuz if you believe that, then you just keep believing that breakfast in bed, with flowers and chocolate is overrated anyway.

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