I enjoy running. In fact, it’s fair to say I’ve been running most of my life. When I was younger, running was a requirement for soccer conditioning. That meant every summer I was running in the evenings with my dad prodding me along. I hated it and would do all in my power to express these feelings to him before each run. I admire his patience as I lagged toward the rear, making a point to keep my distance as another way to show how much I disdained this evening ritual.
As time moved on, I began to understand the value of these conditioning runs, and I recall the summer, where I decided to take it seriously and train as I should. I wanted to start on the varsity soccer team, and I realized proper conditioning was key to this goal. I can still remember circling that old cinder track and finally finishing ahead of my dad. I recall his delight and continued encouragement to keep going.
Fast forward now 30 years, and now I’m the dad taking his kids for a run. First, it was my two sons and I going on 2-3 mile fun runs (as we called them). I loved going at a pace where we could talk. I’d encourage them along and give tips on form and breathing. Late-night runs were a family favorite—nothing better than a chilly evening and some moonlight to guide your way. Like my dad, I recall the day where my sons were faster than me. Finishing 5Ks was a delight to find out how fast they’d ran and if a personal record was achieved.
I remember my daughter running her first 5k. I promised her that I would run with her encouraging her along to the finish line. Now seven years later, I can’t keep up with her. And just like my dad with me, and me with my sons, I’m happy to see her go ahead. To push hard. To try her best. Suffer a little along the way and finish. Now she waits for me at the end. How fitting a picture of life, new becomes old. Fast becomes slow. Time moves on.
I see so many similarities between life, running, and parenting. I see the concepts of one translate well to the other. The need to push on when it hurts. A time to rest. A time to win. A time to lose. A time to train and teach. A time to watch as they pass on ahead. And to enjoy every moment together.
I have one more daughter (4 children in all). We ran our first 5k together this past year. I look forward to the day when she’s faster than me. It’s my job to see to it.