strictly exercising

If you can't beat them, join them
By Anél Lewis

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Conor came home a few months ago, bemoaning the fact that he does not have a six-pack. Now in our home, unless we are talking about what multi-pack refreshment we need to go with the Sunday braai, “six-pack” is not a term that is often bandied about. A few weeks later, I heard one of his classmates also talking about this all-important six-pack while they were playing outside before school. It seems the boys have decided, in all their wisdom, that a six-pack is the ultimate sign of fitness.
Conor later came home with a revised health goal, saying that he was going to work even harder so that he could, in fact, sculpt an “eight-pack”. I have been running for the past six years, having started soon after Conor was born. I wish I could say that I too was motivated by a similar desire for a six-pack. But, I have to admit that I hit the tar for my own sanity, and for some peace and quiet. It is really the only time that I have to myself when there are no calls from the children to mix chocolate milk, make food or find missing goggles. No one is asking me for anything, and I only have myself to look after. In fact, during races there are even people alongside the road who feed me for a change. There’s nothing sweeter than a boiled potato 28kms into a marathon, especially if you didn’t have to cook it yourself.
I didn’t think Erin and Conor were too interested in my training and running goals, until I overheard Conor telling his friend that his mom ran “lots of races”. I was even more tickled to hear him go on to explain how I am “very strict” from all the exercise. Confused, I asked him why he thought running made me strict. “Because you need to be very strict to run for so long, Mom.” And there I was thinking that the early-morning jogs made me a nicer person, not the complete opposite.
Once I had worked out that he was trying to say that the running made me “fit”, I was quite chuffed that my son could see the positive spinoffs of regular exercise. But, I was also hugely grateful that he has not yet invited me to join him on his mission for that elusive six-pack. I would much rather stick to being strict on my peaceful run around the block.
Anél Lewis has signed up both Erin and Conor for Saturday parkruns so that the whole family can get “strict” together. Sadly, none of the Lewis family has any six-packs to show off just yet, but, plenty of fun is being had by getting fit and healthy together.

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