My Running Fans

I'm linking up today for Runners Tell All, and this month may be my favorite topic yet. I had one person in particular that I planned to talk about today, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I'm lucky enough to have several people I'd consider my biggest running fans. So, lucky for you, today you get to hear about all of them!

First up is all of my fellow running friends. I'm a solo runner in my daily endeavors but I love being a part of the running community. I have friends I've made through running that I never would have otherwise met for myriad reasons. Some live in other places, some are nearly twice my age, some I've never even met in real life, but forging these unlikely friendships has impacted my life in a way I couldn't have anticipated. We might run different distances or paces, but at the end of the day, runners are a very we're-in-this-together kind of crew. There are some runs I wouldn't have made it through without these people's pep talks or encouraging texts. There have been some races that have felt like utter failure, until I get a high-five from a running friend who also suffered through it. Some are new friends, others have been there since the beginning. They inspire me and motivate me. I'm so grateful and proud to know these people not only as runners, but as friends.

Next is my original running partner in crime: Ben. When I got a wild hair and wanted to start the Couch to 5k program in 2011, Ben didn't really want to do it with me. But he did it anyway. Truthfully, 100% honest, no bullshit here: if he hadn't, I'd probably still be on the couch. I don't think I could have done it on my own, not in the beginning. Trying to run was scary for me. I had never been successful at it before and I was so terrified of failure, but having him there to support me even when I struggled gave me hope that I could succeed.  Ben is the best person to have on my side because he's biggest believer that if you put your mind to it, you can do it. When we ran our first 10k, I ran so slowly that he physically couldn't match my pace, but he stayed back with me and helped me through it anyway. After that race I kept up with running and he didn't, but he still gets up and drives me to races, cheers me on while I run, and is always waiting for me at every finish line, happy to celebrate each accomplishment with me. He's recently started running more races with me (although, after 3 halfs in the last 5 weeks, he swears he's going into retirement). I think we both prefer him waiting at the finish line, ready for me to jump into his arms and cry (either sad or happy tears, depending on how the race went).

And finally, really my #1 running fan if I had to pick just one: my dad. I have a great dad, and growing up, I assumed everyone had a great dad. It wasn't until I got to be an adult that I realized how fortunate I was, and that not everyone has the kind of dad I have. My dad coached a lot of my sports teams growing up, so we always had athletics in common, but he coached me through more than just softball. My dad taught me to push myself, and that a little hard work never hurt anybody. He never gives up on me and he never lets me give up on myself.

My dad is the reason I ever entertained the idea of running in the first place. He has always been an athletic guy but not a runner until 7 or 8 years ago. In his late 40s he joined a gym and starting running local races. I wasn't living locally at the time so I only heard about his experiences secondhand, and I didn't really get it. I couldn't figure out how he could be so happy doing something so boring. I remember him posting a watch picture on Facebook from his first sub-2 half and I asked, "You're HAPPY you ran for 2 hours?!" Like I said, I really didn't get it. A few months later I moved back home and found myself needing an answer to the post-grad "What do I do now?!", so I thought maybe I'd try running. Not because I had ever been even decent at it (in fact, I had historically been very, very bad at it) but because I figured if my dad could do it, surely I could too? And the rest, as they say, is history. We don't get to run together a lot, especially now that I've moved, but we do most of the same races. He ran my very first (very slow) half marathon with me, and crossing the finish line and then having him place my medal around my neck and tearfully tell me, "You earned it." will forever be one of my Top 5 Tearjerker Moments.

Another spot on that list goes to the time 2 years later when we finished his first marathon together, hand-in-hand. But before we got to the finish line, I was seriously struggling. Thankfully, my dad was there to coach me through it, in a way that only he could have. He knows just what to say to make me feel like I can do it while simultaneously pissing me off enough for me to get my shit together. As much as my dad is my hero, I think he'd say the same thing about me. He's always been my biggest cheerleader and my #1 fan, and the proudest moments of my life are the moments I knew I made my dad proud.

17 comments :

  1. That is so awesome that you get to run with both your husband and your dad! My husband and dad are my biggest running fans, too. Although my dad doesn't run, he comes to a lot of my races and will often bike all over the course cheering me and my husband on. I also have a great dad, and like you I didn't realize how lucky I am until I got older.

    I noticed your husband's Hokie Half shirt in your picture collage, and then when I saw his poncho I made the connection that he was the one who was running in front of me on the Huckleberry Trail during the half. I still don't know how he ran in that thing! :)

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    1. High five for great dads! We are so, so lucky to have our dads there so support, encourage, and motivate us.
      Haha yeah I have NO idea how he ran in that thing! He was so unhappy in all that rain. I'm sure he was a sight. He ran another half this weekend and it was cold so he threw on a hoodie. By the time I saw him at the finish he had taken the hoodie off, except he had he good on so it was just hanging from his head. He looked like a nun!

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  2. So awesome! Love reading all your running post and this one had me smiling. Community and running is a great thing!

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  3. That's so great that you get so much support from Ben and your dad! It's hard to run without the support and encouragement of others. And I love your story about "you earned it" . . . that's so sweet!

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  4. It melts my heart that you and your dad run together. Seriously. I've said this all before, but it genuinely gives me *heart eyes*. :)

    You rock girl. How sweet to have so many amazing "fans".

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  5. thats awesome that you have so much support! I find the hardest part is finding someone to run with me! this is great :D

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  6. So I got goosebumps reading this. My dad will definitely never be at a finish line for me, and as yet there's not one person who's been there with me through all the training and racing. I've had some cheerleaders, but no one really "gets it." I've run 5ks with casual runners but my half was solo. Non-runners just really don't get it, like you said, and they don't see the point in waking up early on a Sunday to watch me cross a finish line, or why I would want someone there to see it when I've just run for less than a half hour. I know I never used to get it until I was a runner myself.

    But anyway, I'm so glad you have those relationships with your dad and Ben that make every victory that much better. And I agree about the running community so much — every thumbs up, high five, "good run," "atta girl" and whatever else I get from another runner, whether in a race or just running through town, makes you feel like like you have so many teammates in this truly solo sport. It's a great feeling. I also love that moment when you find that common ground with someone — "Oh you run? Me too!" — it's a cool thing.

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  7. Love this link up!!!!! Totally forgot about it. Girl, you are such an awesome runner!!!! :) loved this post. It would be a lot harder to finish my runs without my husbands support!

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  8. This is such a lovely post! you are so lucky to have an amazing dad, not to mention all the other wonderful people in your life. it's probably because you are so amazing, and a badass runner :)

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  9. how awesome that you have such a great running support system! I need to find a running buddy!

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  10. Bah I totally forgot about this link up! Mine would be similar where I am blessed with a wide range of running fans! I love the part about your dad - that is seriously so sweet and awesome! :)

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  11. I love the pictures of you with your dad. My dad and I didn't cross the finish line of the marathon together, but we shared the experience. I feel so blessed to have my dad around, and one who wants to be athletic! What special memories. Thanks for being such a great supporter of our linkup this year!

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  12. Great post! You have some amazing support! You almost teared me up with the way you and your Dad run together and support each other. So cool!

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    1. It really means the world to me! We've always had a strong relationship but it's cool to have added that runner bond too.

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  13. Great post - love that you run with both your dad and Ben!

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  14. I loved reading this! I'm so glad your husband was with you when you started running and I'm so glad your Dad is your biggest fan and keeps you going! You really are blessed.

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