Today is dedicated to my dad, my original exercise and fitness inspiration. My dad is a runner, and I can still remember hearing him leave the house in the wee hours of the morning to run each day. Running was just part of what dads did, like going to work or turning off light switches. It was a given that Dad was running, every day, even on vacation, and even on Christmas morning. When I would try to buy him a father's day card, I could never find a good one because they all depicted dads lying in laz-y-boys watching TV. My dad never did that. We didn't even own a recliner. We did not recline.
My dad's runs taught me, albiet silently, about discipline, the value of "me" time, and the joy of having a hobby that was solitary and unifying at the same time. My dad's ways taught me that it was okay to be who I was. His seemingly-spartan mostly-vegetarian diet inspired me to think about what I put into my own body, and I proudly baked him loaves of healthy bread as birthday gifts for him, because he truly didn't want anything else.
As a kid, I eventually started to run with my dad, and even though I was really slow and carried an inhaler, he let me come along. I now realize how many workouts I probably screwed up with my slow pace and frequent pleads to walk the next block. I wasn't a regular running partner by any means, but whenever I was motivated enough to run with him, I felt like I was part of a special club. The first time I ran three miles without stopping, I called my dad. I was in college, living in a dorm four hours away. He reminded me to not run in the dark by myself. Then he congratulated me.
My dad has a collection of t-shirts from races long past, some marathons and some church 5ks, and as a kid I would rummage through his dresser for a race t-shirt to wear so I could be more like him. He doesn't race anymore, but he still has the shirts. I know because I wore one the last time I was home. :)
My dad is a man of few words, so the ones that are directed towards me are valued and treasured. I am a woman of many words, most of which are directed to no one in particular and rarely of the sentimental type. But today I feel compelled to say, "thank you; I love you," to my dad.
Thanks Dad for teaching me about the value of self-reliance, discipline, and a daily sweat.
I guess that is just part of what dads do.