Tuesday, April 5, 2011

To run or not to run?

I recently received the email that tells me I am in the NY marathon this year.

I should be delighted.

It takes 9 races and a volunteer event to qualify -- that's a lot of ghastly Sunday mornings.

But I am conflicted. Am I really going to manage it this year?

I decided to bow out last year -- not exactly gracefully -- in the middle of a 19-mile training run. I was trotting down the boardwalk at Coney Island, and had an unexpected epiphany, in the shape of a taco.

I was passing the stand that does lovely soft corn tortillas with homemade hot sauce, fresh lime, and cotija cheese.

"Screw this." I thought. "Gel packs are the work of Satan. I want a taco."

I sat and munched the taco. I watched the waves. I thought for a bit. I had twisted my ankle and missed the first 4 weeks of training. I had a lot going on at work. I just wasn't ready. Sometimes, quitting is the smart thing to do.

"I'm knackered, I want a bath, and I want to see my boys." 

So I got the bus home. And that was that.

What with one thing and another (work, boys, sleep, life, breathing), it has become harder to keep running marathons of late. I know I need to. Without that big, scary goal, there is no way I will get out of bed at 5:30 am to get 8 miles in. Who the hell would?


To run, or not to run?

That is the question.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Karate smackdown

Last Sunday, I got up at 6am and drove my son 30 miles to watch him fight another child in front of approximately 400 people.

It was his first karate tournament.

And mine.

We were, of course, late, my GPS losing its mind somewhere in the middle of Long Island. We arrived at a gallop, sweating and swearing as usual, and found ourselves in a scene straight from Dante. There were 8 combat rings. Masses of competitors. And hundreds of parents lining the hall, seated on bleachers, hollering up a storm.

I pointed my tiny little baby (OK, OK, quite tough 8-year old) in the direction of his ring, and climbed on shaky legs to the top of the bleachers.

I managed to remain tolerably calm, until the first punch was thrown.

It took every ounce of self-control I possess not to throw myself into the ring, grab the other kid by the pants and hurl him to the mat in an unexpected Mama B Smackdown.

Instead I took a breath.

My son goes to a great karate school, run by wonderful people, who place a real emphasis on encouraging positive character development. He has to complete homework assignments about confidence, perseverence, self-control. He is fit and strong. He is not afraid. And, best of all, he gets to do really cool-looking karate moves that he practices day after day.

So I sat on my hands. Shut my mouth. And tried really, really hard not to pee my pants.

He did rather well. As he proudly clutched his trophy, he explained his strategy for success. He noticed that the other kid didn't have on a face guard, just a head guard, so he aimed straight for the nose.

"Marvellous!" I heard myself saying. "Smart move! Next time, make sure you follow through with an axe kick to the chest."

This is his sport, and he loves it. 

And while I haven't quite got the hollering bit down yet, I will be there on the bleachers, cheering him on.

P.S. For karate classes in Brooklyn, check out urbandojo.com