Sunday is Father's Day, and what better time to take a moment and reflect on Dad's influence on your life (last-second father's day gift lifelines here and here). Like Beth and Katy, I have a super active dad who encouraged me to try every sport under the sun growing up; in many ways he made me the chatty runner I am today.
As the daughter of a pilot, I moved around a lot growing up.
How, you ask, did I deal with picking up and moving, leaving friends behind, and reinventing myself in a new place?I've never really felt like I had "roots" anywhere, and when people ask me where I'm from, I tend to edit my response based on how much time I intend to spend with them. Many people would have hated picking up and going somewhere new every few years, having to leave behind friends and make new ones elsewhere (not to mention the endless red eye flights). Sometimes that quasi-nomadic lifestyle can cause tension among family members, but my family was quite the opposite: moving around every few years brought my nuclear family that much closer. Following my dad around the world inspired an innate sense of wanderlust in my sister and me- we both studied 3+ foreign languages in college, and did multiple study abroad's, all because our dad planted that seed. For us, home is an abstract concept that really is "where the heart is".
(1) I was lucky enough to have two devoted runners for parents and (2) I inherited my dad's gift of gab- ask anyone in our family, we are talkers and we love the social aspect of team sports. My dad always encouraged me to join some form of team sport wherever we moved (an easy way to make friends and burn off energy), and was one of the most involved parents you will ever meet (to an embarrassing level for middle schoolers). He funded my sister's and my multi-year foray into competitive figure skating, coached our soccer teams, and spent hours trying to teach me to spike when I tried out for volleyball (as it turns out, I did not inherit his hand-eye coordination). The summer I finally decided to go out for cross country (middle school), my dad drove me to the trails and ran with me 5 days a week, all summer long, so that I'd be ready come fall. He and my mom came to nearly every single cross country meet I had up through high school, met my coaches, my teammates, listened to me detail every my times for every segment of an 8x400m workout, you name it.
My dad is also an avid road cyclist; in college when I decided to help start a team for my alma mater's iconic bike race the Little 500, he helped me get a road bike, taught me everything he knew about cadence, rode with me over winter vacation, and taught me all the cycling lingo I needed to hang with other cyclists. I should also note at this point that I had resisted learning how to ride a bike until I was 9 or 10 years old, and prior to Little 500, required a 5-foot "safety radius" between me and other cyclists, so it's pretty crazy that he was still so supportive and willing to teach me to race. Oh and my entire family stood outside at the track that year on race night in rainy 40-degree weather to watch me bike- that is family.
Finally, the perfect combination of wanderlust and running, my dad is a huge advocate of active vacations runcations. We have explored Austria on foot, hiking from town to town, hiked (and hitch-hiked) around Taiwan, and run multiple half and full marathons together in Indianapolis, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Chicago, and San Fransico.
Because of my dad, nearly every place I've lived since that middle school summer, I have joined some form of run club. Being naturally chatty and making friends easily at run club has made so many places feel instantly like home. Thanks to my dad, I am active, loquacious, and always ready for adventure.
Did your dad influence your active lifestyle? Would you take a runcation with your family? Do you still run with your dad? Ping us on Facebook, tweet us at @OnlyAtoms or @OnlyAtomsNYC on Instagram.