a hard-headed kid wearing a hard hat.
It's black belt candidate training again and this time Mr. G's testing for 1st degree and Mr. B's testing for 2nd degree. One of the requirements for candidate training and the test is a 3-mile run. Each week the candidates are supposed to beat the previous week's time.
Because I am a seasoned (read: 2nd degree black belt, yo) karate mama, I made my boys run every week all summer long to prepare. Mr. B did so willingly. He hates to run and isn't particularly fast, but he knows from experience that you're better off training ahead of time. He ran gamely and consistently. Mr. T ran with us because he's out for cross country this year and needed to train. I ran to encourage them. Mr. G? Well, my baby was a huge baby about running.
Every week he'd whine and cry and complain. He'd run a slow half mile and then walk the rest of the way home. He kick rocks into the ditch and stop to look at ducks swimming in the creek. I'm tired. I'm too little. It's hot out. I'd yell at him to toughen up, of course, but that did no good. I'd run slower and say things like, "Just run slow, buddy. Pace yourself. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth." I began to doubt his ability to test. After all, he just turned 8, one of the youngest kids to go through this. Mr. T was almost 9 when he tested. Maybe Mr. G needed more time. Maybe we should wait until the next cycle.
By the end of summer Mr. G still hadn't run a full 2 miles, so I figured one of two things would happen:
1. He'd cry and whine and dog it the entire 3 miles at training, proving to me that he was, in fact, too young to be out there.
2. He'd tap into his competitive spirit and try to beat all the kids his age, amazing me and making Team Testosterone look good and live up to our tribe's established dojo cred.
I was hoping hard for #2. I confess, my ego was on the line.
After some internal debate, I opted NOT to run with the boys. I'm not that fast of a runner and maybe, just maybe, if I wasn't running, Mr. G would run better. I knew Mr. B would be fine.
We drove the kids to the course and I parked at the final corner before the finish line with another seasoned karate mama. We hung out and chatted while we waited for the runners to come down the stretch. After a while, the first runners appeared. Predictably it was Mr. H, an adult 2nd degree candidate who has trained hard all summer for this run and is in great shape, and Mr. P, a 3rd degree candidate who has the advantage of youth on his side since he's 16. On their tail was Mr. G. The kid buzzed past me grinning and happy.
The voice of reason assured me he'd slow down during the 2nd lap and it would hit him, but still, a great start. Mr. B came past, #7 in the pack of 20 runners and right on pace with my expectations. He was doing fine and not about to quit.
The second lap around I was gobsmacked to see Mr. G right on Mr. H's tail, coming in a solid second place in the run. No freaking way. He barely ran a MILE all summer and here he is sweeping past on the end of his third mile like no big deal. That little knucklehead!
Mr. B kept up his steady pace and finished fifth.
After the last of the runners passed us, we joined the kids at the finish line and I asked what Mr. G's time had been. Just shy of 24 minutes. Son of a gun. Not only did he dig into his deep competitive nature, but he chose grown men with legs twice as long as his adversaries.
Mr. G and Mr. B, more fleet of feet than your average penguin.
Way to go Mr. B and Mr. G--you made your karate mama wicked proud.