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Running with my Dad...

For the two of you who eagerly awaited my explanation of why I won’t run another marathon with my sister, I apologize.  It’s not happening this time around.  I’ve had a busy few weeks and I just haven’t been able to get to it.  I just returned from my second trip to Germany in less than a month (one of which was to Patch) and I’m worn out.  No complaints though.  The trips were great.  However, I promise to get to my sister soon as well as share some thoughts on Patch.  Given that, I want to relay an experience I had last week… 
Rarely do I go for a run and not think of my Dad and the impact he has had on my life.  He has taught me many things, one of which is the love of running.  Runners understand that running is a metaphor for life, regardless of your talent level.  Like life, running has its highs and lows.  It can be extremely painful one day and simple the next.   Running teaches you to persevere.  It teaches you to work.  It humbles.  It exalts.  It tears down and it builds up.  And it does much more.  Running is a great teacher if you are willing to learn, much like life itself.

I often wonder whether I would have discovered the gift of running had it not been for my Dad.  He discovered the gift in Germany, sometime in the very early 80’s and although he can no longer run, his son does.  And so does his daughter.  In those years, it was Dad’s infectious love for the sport that encouraged me to run in the first place but it was the running with him, the being with him, that taught me to love it.  I cherish those memories of running with my Dad.  Whether it was Burke Lake, downtown D.C., or through the George Mason University campus.   Whether they were good runs or bad runs.  In the cold or in the heat.  It didn’t matter.  What mattered most was the fact we were together.  And when we were, he was always encouraging.  Patient.  Willing to teach.  Much like he has been in life.  And still is.  Had it not been for my Dad’s love, and the love and support of my Mom as well, I would not be where I am today!
I’ve always known this but it has never been as clear to me as it was last week in the small town of Weiden, Germany.  I had gone for a quick run on the hotel treadmill just prior to heading out for dinner.    It was a great way to relieve the stress of the day.  Needing to cool down and pressed for time, I stepped outside.  There, along the “walkplatz” in the cold of the evening, I heard the church bells, loud and distinctive.  Yet the village remained quiet and still.  For those of you who have been to Germany can relate … it’s a beautiful experience.  And so I stopped.  And listened.  Tears came to my eyes as I thought of my Dad, and my Mom.  I reflected on the courage they instilled in me to step out and reach for my dreams.  I’ve done that.  I’ve succeeded in ways I never thought I could.  And it would never have happened had it not been for my parents.  And their unconditional love.  And to a lesser degree, running!  Yes!  Running!!  

As the sound of the church bells faded into the night air I stood there, content.  And I thanked them…       



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