I have been going on 8+ mile runs every Sunday for awhile now, and last weekend I wished the whole 64-minute run that my dad was running with me. When I first started running–I was 13–my dad would run with me sometimes. My pace was always slow for him, but he’d stay with me and encourage me the whole run. At first I would get frustrated, not being able to keep up very well. But running was different for my dad and I. The other sports I had played were generally “girl” sports (dance, gymnastics, diving) and he definitely cared, but I vied for his attention athletically from my brothers baseball. When I played basketball, he got really into it but despite my decent ability, I stopped having fun. When I started running, I felt like I was doing one of his sports, just like my brother had been playing baseball–something my father was really good at. When we would run together, we would run 3, 4, or 5 miles. I’d look up to him and hope I could stay with him with ease one day.
When he was in his 30’s, he started running to get back in shape and became a local distance runner, running in all the local 10ks, tri’s and half’s. I read every page of his running journals one summer. I would imagine him running the 11-mile run carefully documented on a summer night or completing the 50-mile week he had. I’d imagine the conditions, the Pennsylvania snow, monsoon season rain, or bloody hot Arizona temperatures. That’s how I felt the other day. I was running, and imagined my run was similar to one of the ones he did in his 30’s.
In truth, there are many reasons why I chose to start running. But he is the biggest reason. Thanks for running with me, dad.