Fast Feet Friday: Map a Course, Map a Life

I haven’t felt this nauseous since I tried to read Fifty Shades of Grey.

I checked out the updated website for the Oz (Garmin) Marathon yesterday, and the course maps are now online.  I zoomed in on the marathon course and followed the little red line…for 26.2 miles.

That’s a long distance, folks.  That’s like the kind of distance you shouldn’t attempt unless you’re in a car or on a bike or one of those cute little mopeds.  How will I cover that distance on foot?  What fool decided I should attempt this?

My long runs to date have consisted of the same general territory around our neighborhood, including a few loops and laps.  This, I believe, coupled with the fact that I’m only up to 12 miles, has lulled me into a feeling that the distance is really no problem as long as my body holds up and I keep up with the long runs.

That’s all fine and well, but when you spread the full distance out and zoom in with the little plus sign until you see the actual territory covered, it starts to look a little intimidating.  I felt ill.

Then I went with Alex to the high school enrollment night for incoming 9th graders.  Talk about pukeworthy.  Honors versus AP courses?  AP courses versus the IB program?  They say it doesn’t matter until 11th grade, but then you hear them talk about “setting the track” for those classes, taking the prerequisites, AP, AP, college credit, IB (International Baccalaureate), etc., and you feel like they’re lying to you and hell yes it matters!

I’m only 40, but high school has changed, and these kids are playing with new rules.  Color me shocked.  Everything I’ve read is true.  It’s a nightmare!

It was enough to inspire a spontaneous BM.  How is my 13-year old to this point already?  Do they really expect kids this age to have this kind of maturity?  Alex’s high school offers programs in Legal Studies, Engineering, Biomedical fields, etc.  Do kids really know in their freshmen year of high school that they want to commit to that already?  Show me a kid that does and I will smack him down.  My god.  It’s college pressure for 14-year olds!

We also heard mixed messages throughout the evening.  One AP teacher told us that “none of this matters until your junior year, so you can relax!” and that it’s important to keep balance and not overload on Honors courses because of the time commitment that they require from kids.  The IB teacher told us that in order to keep the door open to the IB program as a junior, one should “take as many Honors courses as possible” and make sure that you are up to Level 4 in a foreign language by your junior year.  Both said that Honors courses are open enrollment, but then the paper on Honors courses implied that if you aren’t already in the Advanced classes in middle school, then don’t bother trying to move up.

I felt ill.  I flopped a sweat.  I cursed HH, who is in Florida all week and not there to process it all with me.  I cursed the both of us for moving so many times…we have just moved back from Switzerland, so the school is completely new to us, and we know no one.  I watched Alex’s face as he listened to the teachers and processed this new harsh world with a grim look, and I wondered how so much could change in just one generation (I’m sure not the last time I will feel that way over the next several years!!!).  I resisted the urge to pull him close to me, to shield him from what’s coming, from what I worry he’s not ready for…

We went to our last information session…the Debate team.  Alex’s face lit up as the teacher talked about all the opportunities ahead and how anyone who takes the class is automatically a part of the squad and able to compete in tournaments.  The seniors talked about nights spent with other students preparing for tournaments and all the places they’ve traveled for competitions.  The teacher discussed the Mock Trial class that students, even freshmen, can take in the spring, and that they will have the opportunity to act as lawyers and witnesses–to try a mock case at the courthouse in front of lawyers and judges–and Alex was beaming.

Instead of trudging out of the building dejected, we practically skipped out.  He said that he was overwhelmed with excitement about all the opportunities that are ahead and the choices he gets to make about his future.  He was excited about the challenge.  I saw the enthusiasm of a young man with the world ahead of him, with every choice yet to be made and the prospect of finally being able to make decisions for his future…for himself.  I remembered what that feeling is like when it’s fresh, when you’re young and you are so anxious to make decisions for yourself (whether you’re actually mature enough or not to do so is another question!) and have the confidence that you will make the right ones and that life is going to be GREAT!

Challenges are really opportunities–opportunities for growth, change, and excitement.  That doesn’t change when you’re an adult, it just can seem like it’s harder to find the opportunity.  Yet we all need it.  We need that spark, that feeling like we’re taking something on, that chance to stretch.  We may not feel as überconfident or invincible as we did when we were young, but we still need to tackle new things and see what we are capable of…at least I do.

I went to bed happy and so excited for my child who is just starting the next chapter of his life.  I hope that HH and I can give him the love and support he needs over the next few years, and I can’t wait to see him grow and find his passions.  Meanwhile, I’m off to follow my own passion, my challenge to myself.  See you at the other end of 12 miles, and thanks for checking in with the maybemarathoner!

Alex in Wadi Rum, Jordan, February 2011


Oh, and in honor of hairspray bands from my last post, today’s celebrity runner is David Lee Roth, who once ran the New York Marathon…in 6:04.  The website that I found the stat on quoted him as saying, “I used to run, but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.”


6 thoughts on “Fast Feet Friday: Map a Course, Map a Life

  1. Look at the sweet boy on top of the world! He is going to do great I just know it. I have all the faith in the world in him and so excited to share this part of his life with him and you.

    Don’t be scared you can do it PP, can’t wait to be there cheering you on!!!

    Love the David Lee Roth quote, classic!


  2. Excellent post!! Excited for your marathon- and you are dead on about the need for challenge in life to keep us fresh!

    I was a teacher and I can tell you if you put 20 in a room and ask the same question you will get 5 different answers…like anyone else, you have go-getters and laid back types; you will find your own way to what’s best for Alex, which will be different from the next kid, you know? All the best to you both on your new horizons!


  3. Holy moly! Is he in an international school there as well???? I didn’t realize some public school districts even have the IB option. It’s awesome that Alex found something to be thrilled about 🙂

    “Go ahead and JUMP” and keep on working it out, girl!!


    • Thanks, my Swiss friend! He is in a public school here, but they have an incredible amount to offer and are one of the rare public schools to offer the IB..which of course I am drawn to after our time at CDL. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s right for him, but I guess we have some time to decide. Hope you are well…thanks for keeping up with the blog! Have you settled on your exercise niche? I knew you were looking for a new challenge yourself!


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