Times have changed. I know how to play.
Today my son and I got up early and drove together through Starbucks for breakfast and then to our event. I even let him play games on my phone while we drove. We laughed, and then we got to our destination and looked at people in silly costumes and laughed some more and then the real fun began.
Today, my son and I were participants in the 2011 Los Angeles Columbia Muddy Buddy. The "Buddy" part almost says it all. Almost.
The Muddy Buddy starts with one buddy riding a mountain bike and the other buddy running. After a little more than a mile both buddies do an obstacle and switch places. Obstacles include throwing your body over varying heights of walls, climbing ropes and sliding down slides all the while keeping other people at arms length. (Yes, I did get whacked in the face with a flailing elbow from some girl and some guy nicely pushed my tush to get me over a BIG wall). It goes back and forth like this for the entire course until the buddies join up at the end and go through the mud pit together - hence the muddy part of it all.
My 19-year-old son was my first choice to join me for this event. I have been competing in triathlons for a couple of years and have tried to get him to join me. But, no. Too serious. Too much training involved. Not enough fun? But this Muddy Buddy would be different. I mean, really, how serious is an event where some people wear costumes and you have to slither through a mud pit at the end. Training? Jeez, I told him, "You ride mountain bikes for fun and you've been running and you're YOUNG. You don't need to train." And I kept telling him it was "JUST FOR FUN!"
He agreed to do it.
I think the shirt had something to do with it.
After a few weeks of signing up, though, my son changed the rules. Fun turned into win. What? No, no, no, I told him. I don't do any of these competitions for win. I do them for FUN! I get great pleasure out of biking and running and swimming (yes, I am enjoying swimming) training. On race day I have a fabulous time and enjoy myself and the experience. I am the one laughing and encouraging others. I am celebrating being 51 (fifty-fun) and I rejoice that I am in good enough shape to swim, bike and run. Or in today's case what was planned to be bike, run, bike, run, bike, mud.
For the past several weeks he has been telling me we were going to be able to finish the 6-mile course in 45 minutes. For the same several weeks I have been afraid I would disappoint him.
As my son put more and more pressure on me to win, the more I wanted it for him, and the less fun it became for me. It was too serious. Not enough fun. the more he talked about coming in first, second, or third, the more I dreaded the event.
Saturday, my son and I had to drive for an hour to Arcadia to pick up our race packet. He had to work at 4 p.m. and packet pick-up was from 1 to 5 p.m. I told him we could go early and be the first ones there, get our free hat for the first 50 people, our mystery shopping card, eat lunch and be home in time for him to shower and shave to get to work. I don't know about him, but I had a fabulous time driving in the car with him, standing in the front of line and waiting for registration to open WITH HIM, getting our free hats, mystery cards, making our shopping selections, and then eating lunch. And I let him use my phone to play games on the way home.
The event could have stopped right there....I was already a WINNER! I had just spent 4 hours with my son - all by myself. We hadn't even crossed the start line and I had already gotten my money's worth from the humongous entry fee I had paid for T-N-T to compete in the co-ed 66-75 division (and yes, most of that age is from me). I was having FUN. This was fabulous, I ignored the "pressure race knot" in my stomach.
Then the weather turned and it was cold, and it was raining and my son balked. He told me it was too cold, too wet, no way. I told him to suck it up. I wasn't paying big money for us not to have him whimp
But it was fair play, I guess, because I know I drove him crazy with "Do you have your race number pinned to your shirt?", "Do you have your clean clothes to change into?", "Do you have your helmet?", "Do you have your chip on your shoe?" God, I admit I can be a race nag.
Today's Race Day couldn't have been worse and today's Race Day couldn't have been better.
The weather was horrible. Rain. Cold. Rain. Cold.
But we had friends with us in the rain and they were also cold.
Horn blew and off we went. T-N-T, my son's and my team name, so rocked the Muddy Buddy. Not only did we come in 8th place in our age division, but I know that somewhere along the way we changed from son and nag to buddies.
Maybe it was when I looked at him at the start and said, "Balls to the wall, buddy." Or when he told me not to walk the bike down the hills and just ride it through (and I listened) or when I first rode the bike past him and he yelled out, "Way to go Mom. You're doing great. Keep going." Or maybe it was when I was riding up the big hill (when other people were pushing their bikes) and he ran up and yelled at me to keep going and I yelled at him to push me and he did. At this point the entire run/bike trail was a muddy, slimy mess. And I did go Balls to the Wall and I rode down every "triple down arrow" as fast as I could without taking out any runners because of my son's earlier pep talk. Maybe we changed into buddies when I had to wait at one obstacle for him to show up with the bike so I could continue on and I yelled at him to "go, go, go" (his excuse was he had to stop and puke). Or maybe it was when I had to wait for him at the end so we could go through the maze and mud pit together and I saw him coming down the hill and I jumped and waved and yelled, "Dion, come on, run, run, run." And then again, maybe it was when we started to go through the mud pit and I grabbed his hand and said, "If I slip just drag me through."
We passed a lot of teams and some teams passed us. We finished in 1:05:20.4. I was the oldest female in our division and he was the youngest male.
Son, you made all my swim, bike, run training worthwhile today because I not only kept up with you, but made you challenge yourself. But you challenged me, too, so I balls it out on the mountain bike in the mud downhill. I am so glad that today I was able to get down in the mud and play with you, son. I am so glad that I have the physical ability and energy to go the distance with you and have a laughing good time.
Love you son! Love you buddy! By the way you are muddy!