Thursday, September 22, 2011

In which it gets worse.

So last night the power on our block went out again. So I took Gabriel to the second class with me. I figured he could stay in the store, or the car or on the field where I thought we'd be doing drills. He was really interested so he did all the stretching, etc.

The the teacher announces we are doing Fartleks (these are intervals where you run normally and then sprint for a determined amount of time). Then she gives us directions that go something like "Down fifth sure, left on something, right on something and then back."

I have a problem with sequencing information and even though I asked again, right after "Down fifth" it just went blank. It was dark and I realized I had no idea where to go and that everyone was so much faster I'd be running alone.

So I volunteered to stay and watch everyone's stuff and run in the field. That way Gabriel could stay with me and the teacher could run with them. What I didn't say was I'd be the last one in by a LONG shot and I'd feel stupid holding up class and that I didn't really feel like running alone in the dark was something I was up to.

The bottom line here is that their way of dividing 101 and 201 is stupid. To be in 201 you have to run a nine minute mile. So you have people that take 101 over and over. It's not a Beginners Class that is full of Beginners.

It's full of, for the most part, people who have been running awhile or people who are waiting to get into 201. How the hell they get Transitional Class from walking to running out of that is beyond me, unless they simply aren't paying attention.

I don't mind being last, honest, but being last by THAT much is demoralizing and humliating. I was actually in tears, no lie. I walked into the class feeling like I'd made so much progress over the last six months and ended up feeling like a fat loser who was kidding herself.

It' s not enough to have three levels of drills to choose from. I think they need to pay attention to the PEOPLE in the class and really see where they are at. Maybe have a real beginners class and then 101 and 201. Everyone deserves to feel comfortable and able. I'm not one someone who gets easily discouraged or expects to have my hand held.

But it was awful. I talked to the teacher and she told me I could do the best I could and that 'there is a place for you' and all that but the bottom line is that when you have a class with such disparity, there isn't a place for everyone. Is everyone supposed to wait ten minutes for me to come back in? That's grossly unfair to them.

Am I supposed to just modify everything? I can do that all by myself.

The worst part was as we were leaving I noticed Gabriel was tearing up and looked really upset. he sort of fell apart and was telling me about how that all reminded him of elementary school (he just started Middle School) and how he was always last and how much he hated it and how he felt like he was invisible because he couldn't do as well as the other kids.

His P.E. Teachers were clueless, he's about 15 pounds overweight, one of them told him he was obese and both of them just figured he wasn't trying hard enough. Or that he was being stubborn. He has so much anger and hurt from this and it just all sort of came pouring out. I wish I would have known because I would have raised hell.

For those of you who don't know, my son is Autistic. Thanks to years of intensive therapy starting at two he is high functioning but struggles with emotional, speech and physical functions at times.

This was the first time he had mentioned any of this. Anyone who is a parent and gives a shit will testify that thinking your kid is telling you what is important, only to find out they are holding onto something like this...well it makes your heart hurt.

Realising that this was you in school? And here you are again at 45? I'm still trying to sort through that. Maybe that's why I was as upset as I was. I'm not easily upset, especially over something I'd consider silly as an adult. Normally, I'd just be like, eh, not for me.

So yeah, good times.

Gabriel has decided, however, that he wants to run a 5K with me Thanksgiving morning. I have a generous friend who is also a kid's coach who is going to help us as far as setting up a training plan for him so we don't have a repeat of last night.

If I didn't have the support I do, I would have walked away from that class and given up on running. I felt so low and so incompetent.

The store agreed to let me carry over until Spring and I'll take the class then. I'm assuming by then I'll be in better shape and not so pissed at them.


  1. I was hoping things would have gotten better but unfortunately, it sounds worse. I'm so sorry you are having a bad experience, but I promise that it's not ALWAYS like this!!

  2. The only thing I can think of is that this was meant to bring you and your son closer.

    i agree they need to have a 1st time beginners and then a 101, where you have to be able to run a 15 min mile or something... they need to graduate it more, and that teacher is stupid.

  3. Thanks guys. I won't let it turn me off, no worries, but I will make better choices and do more research from now on.