It’s a little before 6am, winter, dark and its a Saturday…
I’ve been taking the same running route for the last two and a half years, since before our daughter was born. I like the running, it clears my head, allows me to sort out those niggling issues from work and nine times out of ten I feel better when I get home than when I left. It’s also the closest thing I have to a hobby. With no time for team sports or Saturday morning pursuits running fits around work and family and lastly, there’s plenty of kit you can buy as part of the sport (GPS watches, shoes designed by NASA, uber-nutritional supplements etc).
My household has had the usual bout of winter plague that you think you’ve beaten before a second bout comes around again. Consequently its been at least 3 weeks since I last got out and I’m really missing it. I also know that using the “fuel-in-fuel-out” principal, I’m going to start feeling a slightly more restrictive waistband if I don’t get back into the swing of things soon. The fact that I miss this activity that I am completely anatomically unsuited for got me to thinking what originally motivated me to start in the first place.
I changed jobs not long after my wife and I started trying for kids. There were a group of guys that would run at lunch time and in an effort to get to know the new team I started following them around. At about the same time I heard a resilience coach (yes – it’s a job) speaking about his life priorities being his own health, his family, his career and then his finances. I was most interested in the fact his own health was his biggest priority which I have to admit was not an example I had seen from many fathers (including my own). His logic being that if he’s not at his best, he can’t help his wife, be with his kids, be his best at work etc etc etc.
The guy got me thinking about what sort of dad I wanted to be, and what sort of dad I’d look like. Did I want to be big bellied dad type, first in line for a second steak and first to slow down after two minutes of physical exertion or a lean muscular triathlon type able to carry several children on his back up the beach without raising a sweat. As anyone who knows me is aware, I haven’t quite yet achieved the muscular triathlete status. Instead I decided to go for a dad that keeps active. That’s happy to walk/run up a beach or bush track, that enjoys entering a 10km fun run and sets an example of “getting involved”.
I don’t always succeed. Winter’s tough and I have lent towards lazy but I must be doing something right if my daughter can see my running shoes on the floor and starts jogging around the bedroom saying “…running, Daddy’s running..”