As I was running down my country road a couple of days ago, I was totally into my run. It would be my last 'long run' before the half-marathon coming up this Saturday. I had set out early in the morning before the boys woke up. I wanted to get 2 hours of running in before our day began. We had 3 baseball games to get to and I didn't want my running to get in the way of my "Mommy Duties". The weather was perfect for a run and I was enjoying my quiet time.
I turned the corner at the end of my road and I saw my Daddy walking toward me. He was also out enjoying the fresh morning air. Daddy was out for a walk, since his body (and doctor) will no longer allow him to run. My Daddy was a runner for many years. He ran countless 5K's and 10K's and also completed a marathon. He was the one who introduced me to my love of running. I remember watching him fly across the finish line covered in sweat and a look of pride and satisfaction on his face. I wanted that.
My first miles as a 'runner' were quite treacherous. I huffed and puffed and sounded like I was dying. I couldn't even make it a quarter of a mile. I had side stitches and my lungs burned. I was a terrible runner, but Daddy kept encouraging me. He would always say, "You gotta start somehwere." or "You are doing great! At least you are getting out there!" He was always so positive....even though I knew I was stinking it up. I was embarrasingly out of shape when I started.
(This photo was taken in 1998 just before a local 5K race. I waddled through this one at 8 months pregnant.)
I ran....er....jogged....several races with Daddy. He always tore out fast and finished the race fast. Then, he always turned around at the finish line and came back to finish with me. Always positive. Never demeaning me when I had to walk parts of it. He was there for me then, and he is there for me now.
As I saw Daddy approaching me Saturday, I pulled my ear buds from my ears and shouted to him...
"Hey! I am finishing up mile 10! I am going for 12 today."
Daddy beamed a happy smile at me and gave me two thumbs up.
Then he said....a bit sadly...
"I sure wish I could join you."
I wish he could to.
I am thankful that he still shows up to my races to encourage me...even though he can't run with me anymore. I am thankful that he instilled a love of running in me all those years ago.
I am thankful that me and Daddy have "this thing" together. It's OUR thing.