I love running. I know, it sounds so nerdy and cliche, but I really, really do. And like most things that I love, I want to share it with everyone who I care about. Actually, I even like sharing it with absolute strangers. However, I am aware that what works for me does not necessarily work for everyone, and that it can be annoying to have someone preaching to you all the time that you just HAVE to try something. So I wait for my moments.
About ten years ago, a perfect moment presented itself with my mother who was then in her early sixties. Although my mother is genetically athletic (and I believe has a lot of potential as a runner), running for the sake of running had never been her thing. She did sports “for fun”. In fact, this was one of her main sports throughout her university years:
(not an actual picture of my mother, but a picture of what she actually did)
My theory is that my mother never thought running sounded challenging enough. If it didn’t involve adrenaline and wasn’t a bit crazy, she wasn’t into it. Oh, and she had also been a pack-a-day smoker for decades, although she had recently given it up.
That summer ten years ago, a group of her colleagues said they were getting together to do the Run for the Cure 5K , and not being one to turn down an invitation in the moment, my mother signed on. It then dawned on her that she would likely have to train to complete this since she had never really run before. Luckily, she knew ME, a lifetime runner who is always trying to get people to join me in my passion. So she asked me for a training program to get her through the event. Oh, and as an added bonus, she signed my father up as well – also a newbie runner in his sixties.
I was SO excited to get them running I nearly burst. I think I even screamed: “This is going to be so much FUN! FUN, FUN, FUN!” in a high-pitched voice. I may have looked like this:
I wonder if they found that annoying?
Anyway, I went on to write them both a program which got them from walking to progressively more running. My dad did well, but I got the feeling he was just taking his medicine. My mother on the other hand seemed to get more out of it. She got a renewed sense of energy and well-being. Running seemed to “fit” her. I was so excited that I’d had a hand in creating a new runner in the world.
Both of my parents ended up running the 5K in under thirty minutes. It was a very rewarding accomplishment for all of us.
Then we all got busy, I had kids, jobs got demanding, and we forgot to set new goals. Now, it’s ten years later, and I’m making the hard pitch on my mother, now in her seventies, to do the event again (I’m leaving my dad alone for now – he’s gotten into bicycling so I’ll let him do that). I brought it up softly a few weeks ago, but have been following up consistently. Her responses have gone from vague “maybe’s” to more and more positive commitments. I’ve now presented her with a program which starts in a week and a half. My final strategy is my most brilliant: I’ve enlisted both of my sisters to run the event so she can run with all three of her daughters. Now THAT is a pitch no mother could turn down. Wish us luck and fun!