So I get home from work the other day and I’m all irritated that Ben’s apparently still in bed at 11 a.m.
Then I get this text: “ I might need you to pick me up.”
Turns out he got a bit carried away on an impromptu run and lost steam after he’d gone 9 miles or so — 5 miles farther than he’d ever run before.
This, it turns out, is exactly what I need to hear. Not so much because it short-circuits my parental control-freak tendencies in a way that will let him off the hook much of the rest of the day — though it does achieve that desired result — but also because it inspires my own workout motivation, which has been in goof-off mode ever since that May 20 triathlon.
Still, that triathlon seems to have infected our family with some kind of fitness training bug, which has all of us building on each other’s feats without even really realizing it.
1. Inspired by the triathlon — along with the chance to use the Livestrong bike helmet I bought for that event — Colleen decides to start training for an “Iron Kid” triathlon in July.
2. This leads Colleen to spend more time on her bike, and because she hates doing things alone, leads her to insist Cassie finally master the art of riding a bike. (It also leads her to believe that her bike would be perfect for Cassie, and that she should get a new one for the Iron Kid event.)
3. Colleen’s new Iron Kid mindset makes her less gripey about getting up in the morning for swim team practice, which not only contributes to an overall improvement of her siblings’ attitudes about swim practice but inspires her to read Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox.
4. Cox, like Colleen, was a slow 9-year-old who struggled through her team’s workouts before discovering she had a secret knack for covering long distances. This gives Colleen the goal of attempting to swim a mile without stopping at some point this summer.
5. Meanwhile, completing his first triathlon has inspired Ben — who’s often overwhelmed by his overlapping sports schedules and not a superstar in any of them — to try things his friends haven’t: Long bike rides, long swims and now the longest run of his life to date.
The upshot of all this for me is that, on a day when I was tired and grumbly because I was working on a day I ordinarily wouldn’t, the kids’ gung-ho spirit got me fired up for a one-hour cycling session and then, when I returned, had me joining Colleen for some hill sprints in the backyard.
I’m pretty sure there’s some budding requests for new fitness gear lurking somewhere under all this newfound ambition. But it’s still pretty cool.