Tuesday, November 13, 2012
That was my Dad’s question 25 years ago when I returned from a “Turkey Trot” charity run. It was Northern Virginia. There were about 1000 participants and I was 40 years old. It was also my very first 5K.
Dad was blinded by love, but he also remembered that athletic little girl that used to make him proud. We hear lots of stories about the humiliation of being the last one chosen for teams. I was the one choosing the team. If I didn’t happen to be the captain, I was one of the first picked.
So what happened to me that I had to train for 6 months to run a 5K? Society happened. By the time I got to high school, being strong and fast wasn’t admirable in a girl. So I joined the others, bought makeup, put on the pointy toed high heels and became a spectator. I recovered somewhat as a young mother. I wanted my daughters to be active, so “for my age” as they say, I was quite fit, just not an athlete anymore.
When I told Dad that my time of 30:51, of which I was very proud, was in the bottom 25% of the finishers, he replied, “That’s pretty crummy, ‘enna?”
I had to laugh. I loved my Dad and I knew he wasn’t really being critical, just honest. He still remembered that little girl who used to beat the boys.
There was a book a few decades ago called “Innumeracy” which compared the inability to understand number concepts to the better known “Illiteracy.”
Dad wasn’t alone. As a society, we don’t have a good idea of how far a mile or a kilometer is. How long it takes to cover it. How big a portion is. How much our food weighs. Sometimes, we don’t even realize how much WE weigh if we let things get out of hand.
Even worse, there’s those movable numbers as I wrote in my blog yesterday. We don’t have any idea what it means to be a size 8 anymore.