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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Desire to Run

Can't coach desire. Coaches know it. It’s a different experience when coaching a player who is late for every practice and coaching a player who leaves the gym only when a custodian turns off the lights. Business leaders know it. Hire for attitude and provide necessary training later, is the recent HR policy. Positive outlook on life, good attitude, empathy towards customers are not easily trainable.  Parents know it. It’s a different type of frustration when routinely cajoling a child to practice piano and when persuading a child to get off the ice and come home for supper.

As a parent, I tried to encourage my older son to make his own decisions within parental boundaries. “Pick any sport you like (his choice), but you need to be active and stay fit (parental boundary)” was my philosophy. Robert played baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball in elementary school, joined rowing and wrestling in high school. Only occasionally I heard about his running: “Dad, we did 2 km around VanDusen Garden today, I ended up second in my class”. This boy has talent, I thought, his class was stacked with boys who played on various teams often winning provincial championships. But I never pressed my son to join the cross-country running program in his school.

Running is awesome. Running can transform body and mind. Running is also hard. You need to have your own strong reasons to cope with pain and fatigue. You need to like being exhausted. You need to like the soreness that follows a long run. You need to like the solitude when it’s only you and the road. You need to be willing to make difficult trade-offs.  It’s a choice of a lifestyle that each of us has to make individually.

Having lunch with Robert in Montreal last May, I was nicely surprised to learn he wanted to start training for the Sun Run next year. Recently he text-ed me about his visit to Forerunners and a brand new pair of Brooks. He went for his first run. Has my son found his own desire to run? He’s on his way to discover. I can’t wait to join him for a run one day. Hope I will be able to keep up.

Run Strong!

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