Seeking balance — and grip tape for Ben’s baseball bat — I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods yesterday to try on a pair of New Balance Fresh Foam 980s. I pick out wines according to whether I like the picture on the label and shades of paint by the name on the chip, so why should I be any more rational about choosing running shoes? If a shoe with “balance” in the name inspired me in my pursuit of balance in my running life, I’d probably consider it so long as it was neither uncomfortable nor too expensive.
The 980s met both criteria, though I’m not quite ready to buy shoes yet. I did find some other, more tangible sources of balance yesterday, though, even though I never did get in a run on what turned out to be a gorgeous spring day.
With work and an abundance of errands on the schedule, I decided to focus on my kids in the pockets of time in between, and in kicking a soccer ball around with Colleen and sharing snippets of a book I picked up at the library, “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll, we both came away inspired to tackle some new family fitness and dietary quests.
Roll, not surprisingly, has also struggled with the question of finding balance in his life, what with four kids, a law practice and training for over-the-top triathlons that go on for days at a time. A former alcoholic chubster before he turned his life around, he’s yet another endurance athlete who evangelizes a plant-based diet. He’s also got his family involved in his fitness and dietary quests, firing up the Vita-mix to make powerhouse smoothies for everybody in the household.
Later, fired up by Roll’s book, Colleen and I went down to the high school so I could show her how to try a 4:1 jogging-walking session. It wasn’t much of a workout for me, but it was fun to fantasize together about funky new running shoes, intriguing new fuel sources, awesome summer hikes and bike rides, and maybe even a turbocharged blender* at some point, if we make enough dietary changes to warrant such snazzy equipment.
Funny how just yesterday I was feeling all bittersweet about “sacrificing” some of my personal fitness goals for the good of the family – but it turns out that when I put the same kind of energy into my family that I put into my workouts, it pays off in spades.
Now instead of slinking off for a late-spring marathon and feeling guilty every second, we’ll likely all do some fun fitness challenges this summer, hopefully including a triathlon.
And by the time my fall marathon comes around, there’s a much better chance my kids will be fired up about making a weekend of it instead of being merely puzzled or, even worse, ambivalent.
*My kids love watching these “Will it Blend?” episodes. I sometimes think given a choice between a trip to an amusement park and a high-tech blender, they’d take the blender.