Posted by: rundadrun | June 26, 2010

2nd Hand Lion running with the Cheetahs.

As I lined up for the first set of strides, I couldn’t help but laugh a little.  Here I was getting ready to run 4 sets of 100 meter strides with my son’s high school cross-country team, and most of them didn’t even know I was there.  Standing behind them as they got their instructions, I had a bit of a flashback to my own high school cross-country training.  I remember being the young runner with a seemingly endless reserve of energy, running so effortlessly at such fast paces.  Now, I was the old, tired runner who was running on empty more than anything.  But I still had a few strides left in my worn out legs…at least this time. 🙂

The workout started with me taking my 15-year-old son to his first preseason cross-country practice of the summer.  He is now one of the returning runners, so he was looking forward to being one of the leaders.  Last season, I started wearing my running gear to drop him off, then going and running the same route as the team, only leaving before them.  By the time they would do their warm up and start the actual run, I had a pretty good head start, and usually only the “big dogs” would catch me by the end.  Although it can be a bit disheartening to get passed by these young cheetahs when you have been granted such a large head start, it is quite a motivator to run a little harder and keep the lead.  I have a bit more of an appreciation for the break-away leaders in the Tour de France.  You can’t help but look over your shoulder to see if they are coming.

But I also get to know the kids a lot better.  Since a lot of the courses they run are somewhat out and back tracks, I get to see the slightly slower runner face to face as I am coming back.  I then get to encourage and cheer them on.  All of this is done while I am making sure not to embarrass my son as he flies past.

I have really grown to enjoy my morning runs with the young speedsters.  It is a great kick-start to my usually boring ramp up to marathon training, and it is a real kick in the pants to my speed work…if you can call what I do speed work. 🙂

Hopefully, the kids who are just out there trudging along hoping that the workout will end soon are encouraged by the old bald guy who is still running after all these years.  Hopefully, my message of using God’s gifts throughout your life, even when you are slower and wider, will be planted in these young people’s heads.  But more than anything, I hope they all realize that God has given them such an amazing gift of health and fitness.  It is truly a blessing to be able to go out and run like they do.  So, if all they get out of the day is a smile from the bald guy as he runs the other way, I hope it encourages them in some way.

Of course, if I pass them during the strides and get to see the surprise in their eyes…that’s good too.  Look out cheetahs, there may an old lion coming up behind you. 🙂

Happy running,



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