Thursday, February 23, 2012

My dad and why I run

The few of you that stop by and read this blog are here for stuff about my running. Well this post will do 2 things:

1- Talk about a great man

2- Explain a major reason why I run

February 19th, 2005- my relationship with my father changed. It has taken me 7 years to figure that out but I figured it out on my last run. When my dad passed away unexpectedly 7 years ago, it could not have come at a worse time. Not that any time is good for something like this but the fact my daughter was due to arrive was only 3 short weeks away. He was so excited to see his grand-daughter and the months leading up to that he spoke of it often. So his passing 3 weeks before Aspen’s birth was devastating! I wanted to mourn but the excitement of her birth was building for months. I was trying to be strong for many reasons and I never grieved properly. Well fast forward to this year- it wasn’t until recently that I figured out that I hadn’t “lost” my dad but I realized our relationship had only changed. I have never “lost” my dad, he has always been there-everyday. Just like any relationship, it takes work. It is never a one sided deal and there is always compromise. It’s about being there for each other and bringing out each other’s best. It may be more complicated now but that’s what makes it so strong. There are no more hugs or high 5’s, kisses on the forehead or pats on the butt. But there are still conversations, moments of pride and sadness and lessons learned. I have tried to take the best from my dad and not focus on anything negative. He wasn’t the perfect man but the example he set was a way for me to learn. We may spend more time together now than ever and trust me it’s quality time. I still miss the feel of his rough hands and unshaven face, how course his full head of hair was when I gave him hug and the sound of his voice. I miss them but I have not forgotten them, I have not lost him. Dad, thank you- thank you for the lessons you still teach me and thank you for instilling that little bit of grit that gets me through the tough times.

Why do I run? I get asked that question more times than I care to count. Why do you run so far? Why do you run in bad weather? Why do you run so fast (okay maybe not that one). Why do you, why do you, why do you…..? I guess it is a valid question. I never enjoyed running. It didn’t appeal to me. If you threw a soccer ball out on the grass I could run forever! Running to get somewhere never really appealed to me. About 7-8 years ago, I had the privilege of watching a close friend run the Katcina Mosa 100k then the Wasatch 100. It sure didn’t make sense and I was asking all the “why do you” questions. What the hell was Scott Jaime thinking? (Ironically enough, my dad thinks the world of Scott, so coincidence?) What the hell were all the other people thinking? After hanging around the Big Mountain aid station at Wasatch I thought it would be cool to pace him the following year- whatever pacing was anyway. The next year I paced him and though I am sure I wasn’t the ideal pacer, I was hooked (little did I know).

Since then I have been slowly and very inconsistently running. I have run a few ultras and too few training runs. It is on those mountain trails I have noticed I have become closer to my dad. It may have not been the initial reason or maybe even the only reason but it sure is a big reason. My dad loved the outdoors and I grew up appreciating them. Being in the mountains reminds me of the time I spent with my dad, learning to fish, learning to set up a tent, learning to start a fire without a match and how to cook a gourmet mountain meal. So when I don’t have the desire to get out the door or lace up my shoes, I try to remind myself that it is an opportunity to spend time with my dad. It’s up to me if I lose him or not……

Its been 7 years dad- I Love you dad and I am grateful for our relationship.


FastED said...

Very well said and inspirational! Here's to your Dad - clink!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful... and thank you. B's Mom

Scott Dunlap said...

He gave you the gift of the outdoors, and now you can visit anytime. That's awesome.

Well said!