I parked the car, got the kids’ bags from the trunk and walked them over to the school gate. As we crossed the median, my runner friend B went hurtling past. He was obviously doing a speed workout.

I asked my kids “Did you see him?”

“That’s your friend B right?” Replied S.

“What else did you notice about him?” I asked.

“Well.. He was running really fast, he was kinda loud and.. He didn’t SEE you!”

“Right. Right. And right.”

That night I picked up the conversation with my older son.

Me: “You remember my friend from this morning?”

Him: “Yes, the fast runner.”

“Why do you think he was running so hard? To the point that we could hear him panting heavily”

“Maybe because he was training for a marathon?”

“True. Unlike my other runner friends (who run 5-6 marathons a year), B runs only one marathon and that race is more than 6 months away.”

(I would later learn that B wasn’t running any race that year)

Him: “hmm..”

After explaining the intricacies of a speed workout, I added “what you witnessed this morning was the perfect example of someone giving his EVERYTHING! His focus was such that he didn’t even notice me. The tremendous effort he was putting in was evident in his speed and body movements. He also didn’t care how audible his panting was.”

“Would it surprise you to know that B’s marathon finish time is about 30 min faster than mine?”

Him (suitably impressed): “No.”

I continued.

“Most marathon training plans are 3-4 months long but here’s a guy who’s giving his EVERYTHING on a speed training run 6 months before race day. That’s the type of commitment he has for his craft (running in this case).”

It was poetry in tortuous motion.

I extended the analogy to underscore the importance of academic training well before exams but I’m sure he rolled his eyes.