2019-03-15 / Commentary

Running out of options


You know it’s bad when the only time you consistently hear from your children is when they’re beating you at something. That’s been the case since our family discovered the Runtastic App has a leaderboard. Runtastic records your running statistics on your phone, and of course, my family has turned that into a competition.

It’s just the five of us, me, my wife, my two daughters, and my son, but that doesn’t make it any less competitive.

I guess that’s what I get for never letting my kids win...at anything. It was fun when I could run backwards and sprint past them. I thoroughly enjoyed packing their shots in our driveway basketball games when I was two feet taller than them, even though I nearly broke my finger sending my then five-yearold son’s jump shot into the neighbor’s back yard.

But here we are now.

My daughters are 21 and 19, and my son is 16.

I still have a height advantage on my daughters, but my son is a good three—maybe four inches— taller than me. Needless to say, I don’t challenge him to much basketball anymore.

The real competition is coming from that stupid running app. Sort of.

My 19-year-old daughter is a former cross-country runner and just recently finished a half-marathon in 1:45, so I gave up trying to keep up with her pace many years ago. We all did.

However, the Runtastic leaderboard just keeps track of the number of miles per month. It doesn’t say anything about the speed of those miles or the toughness of the terrain (i.e. hills, etc.). Essentially, I could walk downhill in 65- degree weather with a nice breeze at my back for a month and still get credit for beating her, even if she’s setting a world record pace running through sand... uphill...in a hurricane.

It’s just total distance.

She still usually dusts us though.

My son has the excuse of high school sports, so he doesn’t get much, if any, running time. My wife’s back issues have helped her realize she enjoys walking much more these days, so she doesn’t really care much about the leaderboard. Never the less, those two are still on there. So they count.

I would love to say that leaves my oldest daughter and me to battle it out for second place, but apparently, the more stressed she gets in college, the more she runs. I guess she’s been stressed out a lot lately because she actually beat my younger daughter last month.

That led to a string of “BOOM” texts with pictures of the leaderboard and a lot of trash talking.

I was quite prepared to throw some snarky comments and a picture of my own after a nice long run in the middle of that month because I was sure I had rocketed to the top of the leaderboard. Well, my oldest must have been running at the same time, because as I was patting myself on the back and preparing to take a screenshot of my accomplishment, I noticed I was still behind...way behind.

So I’ve given up ever winning a month, which means I’ve pretty much given up beating my children at anything. I knew it was coming. I just wish I’d prepared a little better. Growing up is tough, but growing old is tougher.

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