Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dad Is Still With Me: Stroke Awareness and a Marathon

I won't lie, training for a marathon has been tougher than I had envisioned. There are a few good lessons and good things, in general, I've gained from the last eight months of training.

Stroke Awareness and Research

As you may know, I'm running to support the American Stroke Association's efforts to increase stroke
Dad and Mom, 2002,
13 years after the stroke
awareness and research. So many of us are affected by stroke each day. Whether we suffer a stroke, or someone we know and love suffers, our lives are changed forever. A real difference can be made with education and funding. 

Several years ago, my own family was impacted by my father's devastating stroke. He suffered the worst, of course, but we all were changed. 

If you would like to donate, you can visit my fundraiser page

I have been so encouraged by the support I've had for my running and my efforts at fundraising. We've increased the goal twice in the last few months, and met it each time. I will keep raising funds through January, and likely after.

Running Through Life

It takes commitment to train for a marathon. After making the commitment, as with most things in life, it will be tested. Mine certainly has. 

At the very outset, in early May, I believe, my knees were hurting badly. I started to take it as a sign that I was nuts for thinking I could run a marathon, but I came to my senses and visited my doctor and a physical therapist. Fortunately, I had a great therapist, Jennifer Tuska, at Kort Physical Therapy and I was better than ever in a few weeks. I had survived the first test.

Me and the monkeys at
the zoo.
As my runs became longer, the time requirement increased. I was determined not to let my family time suffer and it soon became apparent that this marathon thing would require their support. My wife, the kids, everyone has been great and on board. My daughters even run with me, sometimes. I hope this whole get-in-shape thing will help me be around for them all for a long, long time.

As with any other sport, your mind has to be focused to maximize your output and progress. When the stress of work, or the house, or the broken car, or any number of things pop up, its extremely tough to hit the road for a two hour run, or even a short one. I've learned to simply put one foot in front of the other and do it anyway. 

Dad Is Still There

Still, if I wasn't committed ridding the world of stroke, I wouldn't have the same drive to succeed. I think of my dad when I was a little boy; the strong, peaceful, outdoor-loving, dad. I think of the hard times he, and we, had after the stroke. I think of the man he became, overcoming his stroke to some extent, even better in many ways, but never returning to his former self.

Even though he's gone, he is still with me. I hear his words and see a lot of him in myself. I keep going because of him, for my own children, and for myself. 

It looks as if I will finish my marathon in January. I hope to post a good time for a first-timer, but it doesn't really matter. Finishing is what counts, this time.

Become a part of this whole thing here. And, follow this blog to keep up with all things fatherly and running-ly.

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