>In the spirit of Christmas (or maybe because I watched Marley & Me and am a bit weepy), this post is a bit sentimental. Today I was home for the holidays, and while the turkey was cooking I said I was going to go for a long run. Immediately, my dad chirped in and said “oh great, I’ll come with you!” My facial expressions must have divulged my initial reaction of “oh shoot, I wanted to make it a pretty hard run” and he offered that I didn’t have to go with him, or I could drop him after a bit if I needed to. Of course that wasn’t really an option, and I told him I’m happy to go with him and if I wanted to go longer afterwards I always could.
So we set out on our usual route down the bike trail. This is the first year where I have really started to notice how my own fitness has surpassed his. Don’t get me wrong – he’s still really active and in shape for a man in his mid-fifties, but when I run with him I always think it will be like when I was 10 and he was pushing me through 5k’s and 10k’s. We used to do lots of exercise together. I remember we once went on a vacation to Hilton Head Island, we rented a couple of bikes and cycled around all day. He told me that Peddling Pelican Cruiser has hilton head bicycle rentals before we booked the trip, and that made me really want to go! It was the highlight of the holiday for me! When I was younger I used to enjoy cycling way more than running. It was something we could do together! Anyway, I could feel him struggling at an 8:30 pace, so we backed it off to 9’s and I answered all his questions about my race plans and training, saying more than I probably had to so that he didn’t have to talk. We turned around and were able to pick it up a little more since we were warmed up. When we were about a mile from home, he asked me how far I was running, and I said that since we will have done about 5 miles, I’ll probably add on another 4 after. A half mile later, he told me to be safe and run smart, and that he was going to walk the rest in to the house. This caught me by surprise, as my dad is usually as competitive as I am and doesn’t cut a run short. I was pretty torn at first – walking would mean getting cold and having to warm back up for the 2nd half. However, I decided to stop and walk with him. Not only was it Christmas, but it was my dad after all. I went back to the house with him, chatting about the movie and the cats at home. When we got home, I said I’d see him in a few minutes and got back to the rest of my workout.
When I was running by myself, I realized I never want to allow myself to become so self-absorbed in my training and my race plans to skip out on that time with him. Even though the workout was not what I wanted initially, it was worth it to spend that time with my dad. Without him I probably would have never started running in the first place, and he’s certainly worth a half-mile walk back home.