Breakfast on the Track – Solo

Every year, Gulf Winds Track Club has a “Breakfast on the Track” (BOT) mile run in mid-August. On the plus side for my experience yesterday (8/20/11), my best time in the past six years that I have been running the event (10:49:95). On the minus side, the fact that my “favorite young runner” (my 12 year old son) was not with me because I didn’t even ask him if he wanted to come. Here is a picture from last year.
Breakfast on the Track 2010

There was one other BOT when I was alone, but that was because Wayne Kevin was participating in a kids’ triathlon, not asleep at home on the couch.

At a Kids’ Triathlon

As I have watched his exercise activity decline over the past year and a half, I have grown increasingly sad. As I told my friend Leisa,

“I am a little heartbroken about this but Wayne has hit that intersection where any natural ability to hang with sports has been outweighed (pun sort of intended!) by his weight gain and lack of training. For so many years he participated in everything, including kids tris, and although he was never really a “contender,” he enjoyed himself. Now he gets so short of breath he really can hardly complete a mile and had to drop out of the kids’ tri in May in the middle of the swimming portion. We thought it was exercise induced asthma but it’s really mainly being out of shape and not training. I haven’t been a drill sergeant about it b/c a) I am so slammed working as much freelance as I can due to economic issues and b) I am concentrating on my own running goals — he has to want to do this himself – I won’t handle him with kid gloves anymore. Although he did do RealRyde [spinning] with me some this summer and that was good.”
An Easier Year (2005 maybe?)
Photo Credit: Tallahassee Democrat
Wayne Kevin is the barefoot runner
I still recall the embarrassment of the President’s Physical Fitness assessments of my elementary school years — lumbering through the “dash,” attempting (and completely failing to do) chin-ups, and some other athletic “tests” that I didn’t remotely succeed at. That is why it was such a relief when my daughter, Tenley, succeeded at many of the the active endeavors (gymnastics, cheerleading, dance) she tried and when Wayne enthusiastically embraced so many athletic activities — tennis, running, kids’ triathlons, one season of Pop Warner football, two seasons of  flag football, and recreational gymnastics. During summer of 2010, the “shortness of breath” episodes started kicking in, and the pediatrician prescribed an inhaler. That same pediatrician, when Wayne Kevin had his physical this year and listened to my description of the strenuously difficult time Wayne had with his most recent mile, and the DNF during the swimming portion of the kids’ triathlon, introduced the idea that this was not asthma, it was …… out-of-shapeness (thorough diagnostic representation on my part, right?). In a kid who did not train between events, how could I argue?
Springtime Tallahassee Mile 2009
I can’t make him train. I am responsible to a degree for a summer spent primarily in front of a video screen while I was freelancing at night instead of making him walk a mile or even a yard … of course he does have two parents but between his dad and me, neither of us succeeded (much) in reinforcing any type of physical activity.
And although I am ecstatic to be moving closer to my goal of running a 5K in under 30 minutes, I am bereft at seeing the road to physical fitness growing longer and rougher for my son.
When Leisa responded to my message, she said this:
“At some point we can’t push and have to focus on ourselves. You keep getting to your goal and hopefully he will come around. The more active he sees you hopefully it will make him turn another corner sooner rather than later!”
Have you dealt with a child (or, heck, with yourself) losing motivation and sliding backwards? Any tips?

1 thought on “Breakfast on the Track – Solo

  1. Paula, my oldest son hates sports but I have made him participate. Even in high school the rule is you play a sport. When he didn't make the soccer team his freshman year I made him run cross country. He actually enjoyed it but doesn't remember that being the case. He made the soccer team the next two years because the competition was not as fierce as in years past but this year he was cut. It is his senior year and I could have let him focus on other things but I think our physical fitness is a huge part of our mental fitness and made him sign up for cross country. He was not happy about it but the truth is that I can already see he feels better for doing it and it has only been a week. All of this is to say, push the issue. Make him sign up for a program or team. And encourage him every step of the way. Soon enough they will be leaving for college and if we don't instill this in them now, they will not have any of the building blocks to maintain it in college. Hope this helps because I totally get the frustration.

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