PHOTO BY CATHY NAGELBERG
My father has always had a running group. When I was a kid, I asked one day if I could go with them. “I don’t think you can keep up,” my dad smiled, amused by my premature ambitions. So, I went outside and ran laps around the house, eager to prove my determination. I would keep up.
My dad took me running—the mile-long loop around Franklin Creek, but I didn’t have to keep up. He ran at my pace, critiquing my posture and my breathing along the way. Relax your arms. In through the nose. Many times, he ran with his group, then came back for me to finish that last mile. And over the years, we added on more miles. We ran a half-marathon together my junior year of high school, at my pace, clocking in just under two hours, even though he was running full marathons in just over three hours.
My dad, now 61, still has a running group, a different group, now a triathlon group. This August, he’s competing in an Ironman. That’s a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2-mile run. On average, these races take about twelve hours to complete. There’s a certain level of commitment, not only physical and mental, but in one’s overall lifestyle, that is hard to grasp.
And while triathlons and marathons aren’t necessarily team sports, they are not something athletes do in isolation. They don’t train for these kinds of races alone. Serious athletes understand the value in practicing together and in groups. They make marathon-running into a team sport. And then there’s the whole community aspect of it all. It sounds kind of like writing, doesn’t it? Continue reading