It’s time for a guest post! (Ish.) I say ish because I’m about to do a lot of talking (writing) as well.
Since it was my dad’s first half marathon, I asked if he would write a guest post for the blog and he graciously agreed. Take it away, Daddy.
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I’ve always tried to be a good dad. You make a promise to your baby girl(s), you keep the promise.
When my daughter ran her first half marathon in 2009, she asked if I’d run one with her when I turned 50 (August, 2011). “Sure I will, honey”, I promised her. I never thought she’d hold me to it (especially after her open heart surgery in 2010), but she did.
So I told her I’d train and be ready to go for the Indy Half Marathon on May 5th, 2012. The most I’d ever walked at one time was 4 miles. What a mistake!!!
By mile 10.5, my feet stopped talking to me. My back hurt, my calves were tight and I wasn’t sure I would make it. Of course, De Lucia’s don’t give up, so I kept going.
My baby girl was VERY encouraging and kept me focused on finishing. It wasn’t fast, but we didn’t see the SAG wagon all day. I was so excited to finish the race, I signed up for the Columbus, OH half marathon in October.
Walking 13.1 miles might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but if you are a middle age person who doesn’t exercise much, it is a daunting task. I’m off the couch for good now, and it is all thanks to my baby girl.
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The way I remember it (which is of course the right way), is that when I crossed the finish line in 2009, he talked about how amazing it had been to watch thousands of people finish – seeing people cry tears of joy, and sport triumphant smiles. Now he was determined to run one.
I encouraged him to sign up for Indiana, since he said he wanted to run it. That’s when he said, “I’ll do it when I’m 50.”
I mean, come on, why would I have suggested waiting around ’til he was 50? I don’t think in terms of “I’ll wait until I’m this age.” I’d rather just do it now. (Plus, I don’t think anyone should ever define any part of their life by their age, ’cause that’s silly.) I told him he should just do it the following year.
He was all, “Oh, I’ll wait ’til I’m 50. It’ll be a fun thing to do for the milestone and give me plenty of time to get ready.” “Okay then, Daddy. If you want to do it in 2012, I won’t stop you. But you really are going to do it?” “I promise I will.”
Every year I reminded him what was coming up. As he told me on the phone today, he just kept thinking, (sarcastically) “Yeah, sure. I’m sure it’s gonna happen.” I don’t know why he thought it wasn’t going to happen. He had made a promise (yes, to me, but most importantly to himself). This was happening.
He was pretty hilarious on the phone today, saying “At the time 50 just seemed so far away. I mean, heck, I’ll be dead by then! 50? Sure, I’ll do it when I’m 50.”
You may be thinking “Gosh, with a daughter who likes distance events so much, why didn’t anybody help him with his training?” (Not to mention, he works with some people who’ve qualified for Boston.)
For the record, we did warn him. We all told him to train more. My dad would say, “Oh, I do the bike all time.” (Indoor cycling is his favorite exercise.) “I’m getting great cardio in.” (Yes, I know it’s not the same thing.)
Granted, I always warned him very gently. “Um, Daddy, maybe, you might want to walk a little more. If you want.” After all, he is my dad, and a grown up. Generally, he knows what’s best.
He did do three 5ks. (One was actually a 4 miler.) He basically said, “I could’ve easily kept my pace on that 4 miler for another 4 miles. Then I’m already up to 8 miles. I’ll just keep going after that, and can slow down if needed.”
He kept downplaying the half marathon. “I’m only walking it.” 13(.1) miles is a long walk!
At lunch after the half marathon, my dad (unprompted) said that he should’ve listened. He took 100% of the blame for his tired legs and feet. Good. I felt better after that.
Daddy has definitely caught the bug. We’ll be doing the Columbus Half in October, and the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. He’s already talking about improving his time. I knew this would happen, and I’m looking forward to future races!
(I’m really proud of my daddy.)