Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On Why.

One of my most vivid memories as a child is of watching my dad warm up before a jog, circa 1980-1985. Outfitted in his "Slow but Steady" t-shirt and some fairly short shorts (think Prefontaine, mustache inclusive), Dad would stand at the top of the driveway and go through a quick series of calisthenics, readying himself for a run. First, the classic quad stretch of pulling one foot up behind him to his glutes, holding it for 10 seconds, then switching legs, followed by some side lunges/hamstring stretches, and always, always ending with ten explosive, quick jumping jacks. The intensity with which he executed the jumping jacks is what really sticks with me--he showed those jacks who was boss. After that, he was down the hill in a blitzkreig of knit and polyester, then out and about through the neighborhood for a quick jog.

Running has always been a big part of Dad's life, and he often participated in races, as is evidenced by this photo from the Charlotte Observer 10k. Fitness in general has always been really important. Both Mom and Dad are strong, coordinated, athletic people, and they encouraged my brother and me to participate in sports, to stay healthy and fit. And though I think of myself as relatively strong, to this day I have still never beaten my mother in arm wrestling. True story. She'll take you down in a flat heartbeat, smiling at you the whole time.

Earlier I wrote that why I run continues to be revealed to me, and here are three of the primary reasons:
Photos by TB
My kids. Sometimes I want to run from them, to be sure, but mostly I run so that they have a healthy, happy, confident mom, so they see running and fitness as a way of life. They may not touch a single green vegetable and may have to be bribed with a Starburst to try squash, but at the very least, they have a model of fitness that they'll hopefully see as a part of life. And that's important.

4 comments:

akfreeland said...

"He showed those Jacks who was boss" That is one of my favorite phrases ever! I love this post! You are THE woman...

Brenda said...

You are so on target as to setting a good example for your kids as to how being physically fit is so important in keeping a healthy body and healthy mind!!!

tommyday said...

Holy camoly! that bit about the jumping jacks and the blitzkrieg is absolutely hilarious. You may not realize that I was privy to Uncle Biff's running life like few others. I was often in tow. Like a thin reed blowing in his wake. That is, until I was 14. At which point I remember mile 3 of the aforementioned Charlotte Observer 10K. I was ripping leaves off trees and talking casually to Uncle Biff while I ran backwards and spun in circles and he breathily said in half sentences "you...go...ahead....". And I was off. We got a great photo at the end of us holding up one of Uncle Biff's other famous favorites-"The Victory" fingers. Cheers to Uncle Biff.

Meghan said...

cried. you are such an awesome mom and daughter.

ps - I really, really want to arm wrestle next time I see you.