Crazy, sad, awesome, surprising, or anywhere in between. Can be from a race or just a training run.
Here we go!
Man Week is a four day vacation filled with fishing trips, hiking, video games, wrestling matches, frog capturing and other adventures. Man Week takes place at my house, and it was created by my nephews when they were younger.
Man Week is only attended by my two nephews, my husband, and me.
My nephews think that it is hilarious that I, a GIRL, participate in the annual Man Week activities, but they politely accept that a chaperone is mandatory, and they allow me to tag along for all of the Man Week outings.
Pre-Man Week 2013
A week before the Man Week festivities, my 8 year old nephew could barely hold back his excitement when he called to tell me that his mom had registered him and his brother for a 2 mile road race. I could practically hear him jumping for joy on the other end of the phone. He was ecstatic!
Needless to say, when my nephews arrived for Man Week, they were in full blown training mode.
At the time, I was also training for an upcoming race (a half marathon) and I gave the boys an open invitation to join me on any of my morning runs.
Every morning I asked the boys if they wanted to join me for a portion of my run, but they always said no.
On the third morning of Man Week, I was scheduled to run a 10 mile long run, so again, I asked the boys if they wanted to join me.
Again, their answer was no.
Later that evening, I finally discovered why they hadn’t joined me on any of my morning runs.
Me: “Hey buddy, you missed your chance this morning. I already did a long run today. Plus we just ate, you’ll get a stomach ache if you run now.”
Nephew: “It’s normal for me to run after eating. We always do our long runs after dinner. We go as soon as dad gets home from work. If we don’t go now, it will mess up our whole training plan. I can’t run in the morning!”
Whoa! I didn’t want to be responsible for messing up their entire training plan, so after asking them to explain their training methods in further detail, I agreed to accompany them on their long runs.
The Plan (Designed by my Nephews)
- I would run 1-mile with my 6 year old nephew. I would be responsible for wearing the “adult only” GPS watch, carrying his water bottle, and letting him know when to stop (“as soon as the watch says 1 mile exactly!”).
- Next, I would run 2-miles with my 8 year old nephew. He gave me specific instructions to shout out his time at every half mile.
I had never ran with an 8 or 6 year old before, but even though I had ran 10 miles that morning and was full to the max with “man nachos”, I wasn’t too concerned about my ability to complete the long run mission. They were kids, it should be easy. Right?
Running with a 6 Year Old
- My 6 year old nephew and I casually walked to the end of my driveway. In a sweet voice, he asked which direction we were going to take, and I pointed left.
- Without warning, my nephew yelled “go!” and broke into a full on sprint.
- I quickly started the GPS watch, then started chasing after him.
- For a half mile, my nephew huffed and puffed with a determined look on his face.
- Every time I tried to run alongside him, he would grunt, and then throw in a surge so that he was constantly 10 feet in front of me.
- His cheeks started to turn rosy red, so I yelled ahead to him “let’s stop for a water break!”
- This is when my 6 year old nephew started talking smack:
- Then, at the top of his lungs:
- Yeah, he said that, and now the neighbors were starting to stare. Suddenly very self-conscious, I slowed my own pace and yelled ahead, “I think we should stop for a water break!” (See neighbors, I’m not torturing the kid, I’m trying to give him water.)
- Me: “Stop! We’ve gone 1 mile!” (Thank goodness.)
- My nephew put on his breaks, turned to me, and said “time?”
I looked at my watch and told him he had ran an 8:57 mile. He high-fived me, told me he had set a new PR (yeah, a 6-year old that keeps track of his PRs), grabbed the water bottle out of my hand, turned back into my sweet nephew and we walked 1- mile back home.
Running with an 8 Year Old
- My 8 year old nephew and I walked to the end of the driveway. He pointed out a dark cloud and asked me if it was going to rain. “Nope, we’re good” I promised.
- My nephew stopped at the end of the driveway and did 10 jumping jacks. Then he told me I should do jumping jacks too, because I hadn't stretched.
- As I did 10 jumping jacks I could feel every single nacho moving inside of me.
- We started running, and my nephew quickly hit a comfortable 7:15 minute pace. Wait, let me clarify---
My nephew was comfortable running a 7:15 minute pace, I on the other hand felt like I was going to die or explode nachos all over my street.
- I told my nephew we should slow down and pace ourselves if we were going to complete 2-miles.
- My nephew casually responded “this pace seems easy, let’s try to keep it up the whole way.”
- .75 miles away from my house, the sky started to get darker as I struggled to keep up with my nephew.
- 1.25 miles into our run, it started to sprinkle, and I thought I was going to collapse.
- At the 1.5 mile mark, it started to pour. My nephew said, “Let’s sprint the rest of the way home!”
- I made sure he knew how to make it back to my house, warned him not to get hit by a car, and let him drop me like a hot potato somewhere between the 1.5 and 1.75 mark of our 2 mile run.
- When I returned home sopping wet and near death, my dry husband, dry 6 year old nephew, and soaked 8 year old nephew were waiting for me on the porch.
- My 8 year old nephew said “don’t worry that you didn’t get an accurate time for me, I’m just glad you made it back alive!”
Yep, that’s what it’s like to run with an 8 year old.
At the end of Man Week, I hadn’t earned any medals, set any new PRs, or participated in any great races, but I had acquired my most memorable running experience ever.
With the help of an 8 and 6 year old, I had learned how to run like a man.