I’m a runner. I love it. Whether I go for 4 mile “short” run or a 14 mile “long” run, I love it. So I guess it was inevitable that running would eventually make an appearance on my dad blog. I started running for the sake of running (instead of running to get in shape for another sport, i.e. soccer or wrestling) about six years ago. A friend of mine, who had always refused to go running with me in university, asked me if I wanted to run a six hour relay race with him. That was my first competition – a little over a year after our first son was born. I’ve pretty much been running since.
Of course, on all my runs I’m thinking. Sometimes it’s about the weather. Sometimes it’s about my training plan. It’s often about food. Occasionally, it’s about the family. So exactly how is running is like being a dad?
You get out of it what you put into it.
The old garbage in garbage theory doesn’t exactly apply to running. There are no garbage miles. A mile is a mile and still trumps sitting on your butt. However, if you don’t train properly, don’t eat properly or don’t drink properly you might as well stay home. Just like the kids you have to spend time with, if you don’t utilize your time properly who knows what kind of monster you can create! In running I mix it up. Sometimes run slow, sometimes I run fast. Sometimes I run slow then run fast then run slow again. But that’s just so I can say I ran a fartlek. And bonus! It has the word fart in it! No, farts are not funny. They’re hilarious! Sorry, back on track. I mix up my running routines to keep it interesting and to make myself a better runner. I mix up the things I do as a dad for the same reasons- to keep things interesting and make myself a better dad. Sometime we play educational games. Sometimes we play our own made up games. Sometimes we play a new sport or find a new way to practice handwriting or addition. Sometimes it’s a new intervention to stop the sibling rivalry. Sometimes I go and hide and eat chocolate chips right out of the bag.
It’s about the journey, not the destination
How many years has Usain Bolt spent training for a race that’s over in less than ten seconds? I’m no Usain but I still spend FAR more time training than I do racing. My goal this year is run 1,000 miles. If I’m lucky 19 of those miles will be races (a half marathon-13.1 miles and local 10k). So I’m on a journey to get into the shape I want to be in to run the races I’d like to run. Being a dad is about that same journey. A journey of discovery, wonder, frustration… Except for traveling. When traveling with kids it’s ALWAYS about the destination. Often, the sooner you get there the better chance the kids have of surviving the trip.
It makes you feel good/proud.
An overwhelming feeling of pride swells inside me when I hear my 3 year old count to 15 without skipping 7 and rearranging a few other numbers. I feel the same pride hearing my 2nd grader read 4th grade books. I feel the same pride when I log a 7:07 minute mile pace for a 10k run. The 3 year old has ALOT of numbers left learn and the 2nd grader has ALOT harder books to learn to read and I still have ALOT of seconds to knock off my min/mile pace. But the pride and joy keeps me motivated enough (usually) to keep at. None of the above happens over night. But like I just said, it’s about the journey.
It can be done in groups or alone.
There’s no better way to get fun things to teach your kids like talking to other dads. There are different methods that result in the outcomes. There are as many kinds runners as there are kinds of dads. Each is their own individual. Some runners go slow and some go fast. Some runners only run on trails and some only run the roads. Some runners run really far and some runners don’t. Some dads are workaholics. Some dads stay home. Some dads are really creative and some are really handy and some are loud and some are quiet. No matter how you run or whatever reason you run, you reap the benefits of running. No matter what kind of dad you are you are still raising future’s adults. Keep on running. Keep on dadding.