Sunday, November 29, 2009

more thoughts on racing with your dad

In the flurry of packing and running to Trader Joe's to stock up on our beloved Joe's O's and creamed honey (and about 47 forms of chocolate and candy - peppermint oreos!) and trying to upload a few race pictures and throwing them on the blog so the proof was there, I just speed-typed a bunch of words and I'm not even sure if it made sense. I think I might have started with a topic, but I think I might have ended up packing it or something. So I've had a couple days to think a little more clearly and now would like to come back to a few things.

I'm going to beat the proverbial dead horse and talk about the race again. As a person, it's incredibly rewarding to work hard for something, see the progress, and rejoice in the accomplishment. As a parent, that feeling pales in comparison to watching your child work hard and then succeed. It was equal to the role reversal I experienced as I got to cheer my dad across the finish line.

Six weeks ago I called my dad and invited him to run the 10k with Laura, Becca and me. He said he'd think it over. The tone of his voice betrayed his interest and I just waited. Soon I received probably one of the most endearing emails from my dad, outlining some concerns (helpfully numbered) ranging from "I haven't jogged more than one mile nonstop in several years" to "Be honest - do you really think I can do it" to "I'm 57. But Dr. Oz says my real age is 44." And so forth. It was with great pleasure that I replied, honestly, that I've discovered that running is really mental (well, a bit physical, but a LOT mental) and that with his current activity/aerobic rate (he cycles with my powerhouse mom a couple times a week - keeping up with her is a freakish good workout) it was totally doable. And so it began.

From there on out, he, my sisters and I have traded emails updating our progress, asking questions, cursing our body aches and even discussing our shopping excursions. SHOPPING. Well, in all fairness, the shopping had to do with running gear. But STILL. (also, if you are running in regular cotton socks, go get those socks they have for running. NOW. you're welcome) I looked forward to those emails, seeing what he had done, watching as week-by-week he added a half a mile at a time, hearing how he had felt. That first run was horrible, he said, or at least started that way. By the time he was finished, he was high on the endorphins. His progress motivated me to run faster, work harder, and then report back.

It was great fun to behold not only how great he looks, but to see him emerge Monday morning for our easy 3-miler in his new ensemble. He looked so tough. And here I had joked that my sisters and I were going to run in formation around him in all black like we were his security detail.

And get THIS. Besides the running and the shopping, he made breakfast. Steel cut oats. I've been wanting to try them but never had. I'm a total convert. Not only that, but he found the recipe (well, some internet-now-real friends suggested it - not like he was just browsing the food network like SOME people *cough* ). And he makes it. And it's DELICIOUS. I think the only other time I've seen him use a pot was for making oyster stew and that made all of us retreat to the farthest corners of the house. No joke.

I also realized that this training and emailing and planning has been a mighty good distraction for me over the past month as things have gotten a bit more hectic and tentative and stressful. Cheering them on was almost cathartic as I realized that things can be really hard but if we just power through, it's worth it. And also, I've got a cheering section that will pull me through even my toughest days.

So it only added to my own personal endorphin high to finish the race and then shimmy back out a little to watch and cheer my dad. And my sisters. I was so proud. Like not only was it an accomplishment for me to cross that line, but I felt it again and again with each of them. I look forward to more finish lines with these people.


Jazzy Cher said...

That sounds like super-awesome fun. I taught a Jazzercise class at 8:00 am Thanksgiving morning. My 8:00 am classes usually have around 10 people if I'm lucky. I had 33! The community center had 3 classes that morning that were free with a canned food item for the local food bank & mine was one of them. It was awesome, I was so proud of all of those people that got up early to work out. I'm proud of you guys, too! Oh, and we had what we like to call "Sarah chicken" for Thanksgiving dinner :) --Aunt Cheryl