I am not a runner. I am not the girl you see running down the street with a smile on her face. I’m the girl you see who looks like she may possibly be having a hernia. I’m the girl who is too ambitious and goes out for five miles and then can’t walk for five days. This makes it a bit ironic that I grew up running. I ran around with my friends in the neighborhood. I actually even ran high school track. But first, and most importantly to me, I ran as a way to spend time with my father.
My father is a runner. He has long, lean muscular runner legs and I grew up cheering him on at races. At first I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with him on foot, so I tried to keep up on him on my bike. That didn’t work either (don’t judge – I was 7 and the man is fast). So we developed a routine. My father would do most of his training runs on his own and then every other day or so, we’d go to the park and he’d run at a reasonable (read: slow) pace so that I could ride along beside him. I loved the feeling of working out next to the man I looked up to. I treasured those days, while at the same time longing for the days I was fast enough to keep up with him.
Of course, by the time I was physically fast enough to run with my father, I wanted nothing to do with him. I was 15 and a handful and the LAST thing I wanted to do was exercise with my father. I wanted to hang out with my friends, date boys and generally do things that caused my poor parents to quickly go grey. I still ran, of course. I was a sprinter and a hurdler during both indoor and outdoor track season. Eventually, my father quit asking me to go running with him, I went away to college and kept running recreationally.
Fast forward to Christmas 2005, which my parents and I spent in Hawaii with my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. As expected, it was beautiful and a wonderful way to spend Christmas. What I didn’t expect, though, was that my father and I would embark on morning runs together. It was amazing. Running with my father past the beaches, oceans and mountains of Honolulu…I can’t put in words how special those moments were to me.
So, no…I’m not a runner. But running holds a special place in my heart. And THAT is the reason that the second item on THE List is to run a half marathon. And I can’t wait to have my father on the sidelines, cheering me on. DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon (on St. Patrick’s Day!), here I come!