In a week, I’ll be heading off towards ten days of hiking with the two youngest boys. Two weeks later Daddy will turn up to join us with the two little girls. The Romantic Me says us-original-three will be strengthened after our jaunt through the mountains, ready to take on the world. The Realistic Me whispers we may well be sore and tired, while the newly-arrived-three will be fresh and full of energy.
It might be like last Saturday. I set off with the little kids, Daddy had to fix a computer for a friend. After some time he drove towards where he expected us to be, parked the car and came striding up behind us. Then promptly left us in the dust. Let’s change that to “left me and one child in the dust”. The other three desperately wanted to keep up with him. Walk three steps, run four, walk three, run four. While they were doing admirably, I was aware that they needed to complete more than a half-marathon, and as our training has been limited to walking and not running, I wondered aloud about choosing that longest walk to take up running.
The child who was walking with me at our not-unrespectable-more-than-5km-per-hour pace and I made our guesses as to who would be the first to fall behind. It didn’t take long. One has a propensity to “get the stitch” and this time was to be no exception.
“I know you want to walk with Daddy, but his legs are just so long, look how far they take him,” I explained as we caught up with her. Daddy was ambling, he almost looked sluggish. Our legs were going twice as fast as his, but even still we could not keep up. I was the only one who didn’t try. When we walk sans Daddy we amble along somewhat together, stretched out along a trail, rarely as a tight group. He, however, is like a magnet, invisibly drawing all the kids to his side, keeping them close. I figured I was dropping behind because I was the only one carrying a pack (and thereby carrying everyone’s raingear and sunhats and the bulk of the water), but let’s face it; even without a pack, my legs wouldn’t have gone fast enough. Not as fast as his, that’s for sure. You see, he’s got amazing calves.
In fact, there’s a story, a true story, that sounds more like a myth, but you can take my word for it, it’s all true……
Daddy cycles to and from work most days. Sometimes he gets hassled by motorists. Sometimes it happens on a hill, and that’s where this story took place, on the last big hill before home.
He was pedaling up when a car slowed down. Glancing sideways he noted the windows rolled down and a guy starting to lean out. Bracing himself for abuse, Daddy determined not to bite, simply hoped to stay safe.
“Legend calves, mate,” the guy roared, and the car took off.
Those legend calves are going to have to slow down when they get to Spain. On longer walks towards the end, sometimes one or other of the kids asks for us to slow a bit. We send that person out to the front, and funnily enough they usually keep walking at exactly the same pace, but psychologically they must be strengthened.
We’ll need more than psychological strengthening if those calves don’t slow down; emptying out our packs and filling his to capacity just might work.