Dad as a Running Buddy

Erica is currently participating in our half marathon training program. We recently caught wind of the fact that her dad is her running buddy, even though he lives in Chicago. We asked her to share this great story for Father's Day. And she said YES!  Enjoy - Andrea

By: Erica

“I noticed you haven’t hit my leaderboard this month.”

“Yeah well, I’ve been busy.  I’m supposed to run twelve miles this weekend though!”

Typical.  I call my dad for his birthday and he’s giving me a hard time because I haven’t run in the past five days.  Of course, he’s been logging miles almost everyday since he started running eight years ago, so I know that any excuses I make are just that.  Excuses.  It keeps me motivated, though.  There have been a few times that I’ve made it to the top of the leaderboard, if only for a few hours.  Sometimes, I’ll even run a little extra, just to cement my place for a little longer.  

Our leaderboard is virtual, shared with a few other family members using the Nike+ Running system.  It helped my dad start running in 2006 (you can read his account here) and when I quit smoking and started running in early 2009, it helped me too.  It allows us to be running buddies, even though he lives in Chicago and I live in Seattle.

Of course, it wasn’t always this way.   There was a time when I refused to run - even to catch the subway - but everything changed when I decided to find something that would keep me from smoking again. Running had changed my father’s life a few years before when he and my mother became regulars on the lakefront path near their home.  Needless to say, they were thrilled when I took up the sport.


We’ve run many miles together since then - in the snow, in the blistering heat, with wind so hard we could barely move forward.  I’ve teased them about their ‘big hills’ in Chicago only to feel sheepish when I hit the wall - hard - during a 90 degree half marathon (we don’t have that weather in Seattle!)  

The best runs, however, are when it’s just my dad and I.  See, I talk to my mom on the phone pretty regularly, but long distance conversations with my dad are pretty short and sweet.  Not when we’re running, however.  We’ve had some pretty deep conversations while racking up miles along Lake Michigan.  

And even though my pace is a few minutes slower, he ran with me during my first marathon, crossing the finish line together.  Of course, it’s not all paradise.  There was the time that he tried to motivate me during a particularly hard run that resulted in some intense glaring (and maybe a few snotty remarks from me).  But that’s what dads are for, right?

The best part about the leaderboard is that, even though we've both hit a slump here and there over the past few years, it's helped us motivate each other. There's a bit of a competitive streak in my family so I know that if I keep hitting that leaderboard, he will too. After all, a good running buddy is like gold.

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