12 February 2011

A Walk with My Dad

Today I participated in the Fruita Sweetheart 10k. I had originally signed up for it with the designs of pushing myself to finish with a good time and as a prelude to next weekend’s Lost Dutchman in Arizona. That changed after my Dad signed up to walk it with me. He had surgery on his back in December and for an active man, the health-imposed lightness of activity has been driving him nuts. When I was telling him about the race (I use the term “race” for all my walks – it sounds more exciting), he decided it would be a good event to take part in. So my goal of a fast time (for me) went by the wayside – I wanted to walk with my Dad and I would walk at his pace.

This is the second small, local race I’ve done and I’ve come to really enjoy them. No hoards of people, no fancy start line or finish line, no “D” tags for timing: just 3 or 4 organizers, about 30 volunteers, 2 policemen, tons of donated goodies and a simple route with beautiful scenery. I have no idea how many people were participating in the combined 5k/10k route but it couldn’t have been more than 500. My Dad tells me, “I thought you said there weren’t going to be a lot of people?” And I said, “Well, there’s really not.” Shows you the size of races I’ve come to get used to over the past few months because last year I would’ve been hyperventilating from the crowd. Today I was comfortable knowing that I’d be able to breathe.

When we started off, Dad told me to not let him hold me back. I told him I wouldn’t and was thinking to myself, “I can’t even keep up with you right now and you’re worried that I am going to hold you back???” I think my legs don’t like to walk the first 2 miles. They are always stiff and I clomp down the road like a Clydesdale Horse. I told Dad that my shins were really tight today and that he should just ignore my clomping. After the 2 mile marker, however, my body gave in and walking became smoother and I wasn’t having any trouble walking at my Dad’s pace.

For an hour and forty-eight minutes Dad and I walked. We talked about my siblings, my kids, my brother’s kids and genetics. Talked about the half marathons I’ve done and how his back is healing. For almost 2 hours I had my Dad’s company and I found myself feeling like a little kid again, out on “special night” where my Dad was all mine with no other competition for time or attention. I loved the time with him and while we didn’t set any land speed records, we finished the race (and a little bit more cause we kind of deviated for a little bit off the course). I have a pretty cool Dad and I am so glad I had that time with him. And, according to my Cardio-Tracker on my phone, I burned enough calories to gorge myself on 2 avocados. Not that I’ll be eating avocados for lunch, mind you.

By the time we made it back to the Rec Center and the finish line, we were the last to come in off the course. In fact, everything was already being torn down and put away so I have no “official” finish time. But I wouldn’t trade a finish line for the time I had with my Dad. It was a beautiful day for a walk with my Dad. I hope we do it again soon.


Distance: 6.47 miles
Pace: 16:44
Climb: 168 yards
Time: 1:48:24
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