Friday, March 4, 2011

Forget Obama, Apparently My Dad Was Born In Kenya

Earlier this year I ran a marathon and a half (that’s 39.3 miles in case you’re counting). I quickly followed that up with the Warrior Dash – a 3.5 mile run that also included 12 obstacles, such as running through mud and water up to your waist; scrambling over top of hay bales, the hoods of cars, floating logs and cargo nets; jumping over fire and, my personal favorite, crawling on your belly beneath barbed wire (just to name a few examples).

I continuously sign up for these types of events, each time pushing myself farther physically and mentally. And, well, I think this has given people the false impression that I’m in any way athletic and/or in good shape.

Okay, fine, I will concede that it does take some kind of physical prowess to complete these events. But mainly it’s just endurance. You just have to be able to keep going even though you’d rather curl up roly poly style on the side of the course while you gently weep yourself to sleep. Or, in my case, you have to keep going when you’d rather make a break from the pack and steer towards the nearest beer-laden watering hole. And, well, I guess I do have a talent to just keep going (most likely because I know that, if I do, I will eventually get to some beer).

The question that remains to be answered is why? Why do I sign up for these things in the first place? I think it’s likely due to a misconception I have that training for said events will make me slender and buff – neither of which have proven to be true. In truth I don’t work out nearly as much as I should and, when I do bother to get off my butt and go for a run, I eat extra to “give me strength” (and negate all those burned calories). In fact, since my Warrior Dash in January I have run exactly one time. This run proved challenging due to the fact that my nearly ancient treadmill somehow got stuck permanently in the full incline position. Upon learning this I had my Dad (yes, he’s still visiting) haul the now-worthless (to me anyway – who want to constantly bother with running uphill?) treadmill to the curb for trash pick-up.

But now, with my wedding looming a mere six months away, I realize that perhaps I should be working a little harder at this whole fitness thing. And, to make matters worse, I have a 5K to run tomorrow. While in theory this is no problem for a long-distance runner like myself (this race isn’t even making me jump through fire! What a cake walk), I am running it with my Dad. And, well, I think he might kick my butt. Granted the man hasn’t run in the past 50 years (since he was on the track team in high school), but he assures me that his vigorous training in the basement of his house in Michigan has allowed him to now run a 6-minute mile. Yes, he claims that running a figure-eight pattern around the pool table and coffee table repeatedly each day for 2 months has granted him the type of speed that professional runners spend ages trying to reach … and he even bought a fancy track suit to befit his newfound skills.

Now, I’ve been watching his progress during the past 3 weeks of his visit and, somehow, since he got here his speed has dropped somewhere into the 10-minute mile pace. While I’m not sure how to explain this discrepancy I think I’d better beware – should he decided to unleash his true Kenyan-like running talent tomorrow then I’ll be left in his wake. Maybe, if I’m lucky, he’ll take it easy on me. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to embarrass his marathon-running daughter by leaving her in the dust with his (dubiously reported and yet to be confirmed) speed.

Wish me luck!

UPDATE: The race is now over. Dad and I ran the whole thing together and it went well. Enjoy these photos, starting with one of us with GAR before the race.
And here's one of us running. You can see that Dad looks so at ease. See, I knew he was an expert runner.
We raised our arms in the air as we finished the race. Sadly they didn't get a great victory shot of us, just this crowded shot from above.
And finally, our group shot after the race. Great run Dad!


  1. I want to hear the report after the run.

  2. It went great! Dad and I really kicked some butt together ... which is shocking considering that he later admitted that all his basement running was done in his slippers.