"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
- Walt Disney (1901-1966)
Ok, so while my son and daughter-in-law are vacationing, they asked my wife and I if we would babysit our nearly one-year-old Grandson, Adam for one week. So, as they used to say in the old Dragnet TV show: This is the City: Boston Massachusetts. I work here...I am a Grandpa.The story you are about to hear is true. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent...Well, actually none of the names have been changed, but it's a great beginning to a TV show!
Holy Crow! I thought this would be snap. I trained for over 30 years for this (actually 63 years, but many of those were, shall we say, less aerobic) and Adam has been training for less that a year. I've got a ton of experience, know how to complete long endurance events, and everything he does is something new - therefore, he is breaking one of the cardinal rules of endurance sports...NEVER DO ANYTHING NEW! I try to pace myself and he is full-bore-ahead every waking minute. I thought squats were good, but I guess several hundred a day, plus many of those combined with lifting a 22# weight has been doing a number on these trail and road worn legs. But, it's got to be beneficial to my long distance training, right? So, we're up early and Adam gets some early pre-event nourishment (I, on the other hand, am too involved with his breakfast to see after my needs, and so I hit the first training session in carbo debt). We then dive right into some fairly light work of moving all around the house at a leisurely pace, but ever so imperceptibly, the pace picks up and the next thing you know, we're headed for places not allowed at a brisk pace, with Grandpa in hot pursuit. At times, it's easy to lift up this sack of hay, but other times, when he's not so willing to leave what he's doing, it's like picking up an egg yolk! No kicking and screaming, just not willingly helping in any way at all. Then, Adam, who is not too adept at this walking thing (actually hasn't taken an independent step in his whole life!), wants to test out his bipedal motion, so Grandpa acts like his pacer and walks alongside, hunchback style, grasping his hand for balance (his and mine). This goes on room-to-room, with periodic stops to see if this drawer opens, or this cabinet is child-proofed yet, or this pile of books needs pushing over. Finally, after the initial two hour salvo, he hits the first rest break and a truce is called for an hour or so while he naps. I try to pick up the debris left behind, try to take a short (very non-productive) run, shower, and am ready for the second leg of this day's stage. He begins with getting his legs loose by darting around at short intervals interspersed with periods of checking his gear (toys). He then has a balanced lunch and we head for the great outdoors (no time for my nourishment, thus again breaking a cardinal rule of my own - keep those calories coming in!). So, I lift the stroller from the back of the car, swearing this thing is built so there is no way to lift it with one arm while holding the squirming aforementioned egg yolk in the other, slowly cramping arm. Now, we hit the park for a couple of hours of playing on the swing, pushing his wagon, picking up acorns (lots of bending), and sitting in the sand pit trying to build sandcastles faster than Adam can destroy them. Falling in the mud is also great fun for both of us as I picture a definite affinity to trail running in his future. Of course, all of these changes of venue involves Grandpa to again and again lift the growing trail runner. Starting to feel my energy levels recede like low tide, but all this is great practice for my mental "push-through-the-wall" encounters in my runs.
And so home we head for another well deserved rest (nap). I am pooped and put my feet up hoping the blood realizes that it has to circulate around a few times to replenish the energy used - oh wait, maybe I better eat something quick - good, I find some pretzels! After about an hour and a half mental recharging (me) and physical recharging (Adam), we are at it for the final joust of the day. It's like the final hill of the marathon - it's best to just take a deep breath and pace yourself up it 'cause it ain't gonna go away. Adam has some secret white energy drink that is made from a powder that says "formula". Ah-ha, now I know what I need on those long trail runs, but that's another blog. So, we tear into another couple of hours of swinging and lifting and playing on the floor and climbing under furniture, until finally, it's supper time. I think I'm finding his secret - the doggone kid eats super-healthy!! I mean he has this formula thing 5 times a day, then carrots and sweet potatoes and spinach and broccoli, not to mention bunches of bananas, mangos, and blueberries. The secret weapon must be beets, because there is nothing, I MEAN NOTHING, compared to poopy diapers after a full serving of beets - Holy Mackerel...it looks like he swallowed purple dye! Beets in...Beets out!! It takes special internal fortitude for a Grandpa to say "Good Job" when you're changing this diaper, believe me! "Holy Crap" is more like it, I just have my doubts how holy it is!
I didn't realize I had signed on for a duathlon, but here comes the swim portion of the competition, otherwise known as Bath-time! I thought the egg-yolk was hard to pick up. Well, let's just lather up that yolk with soap and see how hard it is to pick up while on your knees and the yolk is happily splashing away. Now, he's in the tub, but I swear, he's not much wetter than I am! Finally, dry and in clean PJ's, we begin to settle down. The whole chaos of the day, the constant pinball-like atmosphere, the mental push of "did-I-do-everything", comes to this moment. Adam is in my arms, drinking his last bottle of the day. We are in his dimly lit room and while I rock him, I am reading him a bedtime story that by week's end I will have memorized and can recite with my eyes closed. He is drifting off and I am softly singing him the A-B-C song (it's the only thing close to a lullaby that I know). As I kiss him on the forehead and place him in his crib, I thank God for so many things... And I can't wait till he wakes in the morning and we go at it again.
And so my friends, tomorrow we wing our way back home to Birmingham while you Mercedes trainees do 9 miles (full) or 4 miles (half). Be kind to Coach Ken without me there. I hope you all have had a good week running and training in the (finally) cooler weather and next week I will see all of you on the roads - AL
"One child lost is too many...one child saved can change the world."
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