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My Dad and 5Ks~It’s Our Thing

on July 21, 2012

I want to first start by saying that even though this blog is about my dad, I am very close to both of my parents.  My mom, dad, and I have such a wonderful and close relationship.  My mom and I have so much in common….I have her love for playing the piano (she was my first piano teacher), have her hands, we finish each other’s sentences, and we both have the ability to “feel” things about situations and people.  We both just sort of “know” when something isn’t right or when something is.  Maybe that’s just plain old women’s intuition, whatever, but we both have it.

Even though I am extremely close to my mother, this blog is about my dad.  I am also extremely close to him as well.  I have his eyes, I’ve been told I have his sense of humor, we clear our throats the same way (odd, but true), and I would say we share the same emotional response to things that we care about.  We react in a very similar way when something upsets us and when we feel very passionately about a cause, we both throw everything we have into that cause.  

One other thing that my dad and I share is our love for 5Ks.  This started several years ago, at least 10, and we would go to about every one we could together.  At that time, I would run and he would walk.  He was always very competitive about his 5Ks and I was not.  He was out to win his age group.  We would travel to the 5K together, be together before, separate and do our own race, and meet up at the end.  It was “our” thing.

One particular 5K in 2006, we went to a nearby town (from my hometown of Lawler) and we were going to do our usual thing…I would run and he would walk.  He really wanted to win his age group and all I could think about was him.  So after our routine before the race, the gun went off and we started.  I was running and thinking about my dad.  Wondering how his race was going…praying that he would win.  I had a plan that as soon as I got done, I would really watch to see if any of his competition would come in before him. Once I finished and got my water and banana, I parked myself right at the finish line….waiting and watching.  Here came my dad and I knew that he would be first in his age group.  He was a little nervous even though I was SURE that he was the first one in.  

It came time for the awards.  I couldn’t wait to get to his age group!  I could tell that he couldn’t wait either. Suddenly, I heard MY name being called.  What?  Dad and I looked at each other wondering what the heck was going on.  I had won MY age group!  I was so focused on my dad, that I had no idea what my time was, how fast I had gone, or anything about my own race.  So I went up to the front and was handed a trophy!  My dad was beaming!  And sure enough, Dad won HIS age group!  We had our picture taken for that local paper and again, my dad was beaming!  What a fun day that was!

We kept doing this for another couple of years and then the 5Ks stopped when we heard 5 words.  Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma.  It was stage 3 cancer and he would need 6-8 rounds of chemo.  It was devastating.  During chemo, Dad was incredibly sick.  In fact, there was a point when he was hospitalized for several days due to an infection.  After that, he wasn’t able to even see visitors because of the high risk of germs.  My mom was by his side the whole time, constantly taking care of him.  He beat the cancer, is still Lymphoma free today, and is a true hero in my eyes….and so is my mom because the care giver role is such a difficult one as well.

My first half marathon in August 2010 was in honor of them.  His battle with cancer and my mom for taking such good care of him.

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This next picture is of my dad reaching out to me right near the finish line.  He was cheering me on!  This is my favorite picture.

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Once he got stronger, he began working up to the 5K distance.  Last year, we walked together and sure enough, he won his age group!  

Yesterday, I went to walk with him again.  It’s so fun to walk with him.  We talk, we bond, we laugh.  This year they did not do awards on age groups.  They only gave awards to the top male and top female.  This was just fine with us.  The main thing this year is that we did it together.  Don’t get me wrong, even the years when he wanted to win his age group, we have loved being together.

 I’m not sure why, but this year felt extra special to me.  Maybe it’s because of the trouble I’ve been having with my hip and the perspective I’ve found on my own journey.  I’m not really sure.  

My dad inspires me every day….as so does my mom.  I am so blessed to have them as parents.  I am so blessed to be able to have these 5Ks with my dad.  It’s our thing.

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3 responses to “My Dad and 5Ks~It’s Our Thing

  1. Deb says:

    Jess, this just made me cry. You are so lucky to still have both your folks around. And love the pictures!

  2. Maureen says:

    Jess you are so lucky to have that time with your dad. I feel our families on McKone side were all very fortunate to have our parents. They are all great and I truly believe it is because of grandma and grandpa were such great role models. Tell your parents hi for me and tell your dad I am very proud of him for doing the races!

  3. illinoishawkeye says:

    Aw, man, I’m tearing up! I’m so glad you and he can share this special bond.

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