Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MBE on Tuesday: The Athletic Family

Monday Brain Exchange (MBE) is sponsored by Jill, who blogs at Finishing Is Winning. This week's topic is The Athletic Family.

Question: Do you come from an athletic family? Are your parents/siblings/spouses/children also involved in your sport(s)?

Post-Race Lunch
Dad, Mom, Me, Jason, Bob (Jason's Dad)
Breast Cancer Marathon Relay
When I was growing up, my dad was the only athlete in the family. I remember going to watch him race and there always being a spread of food to entertain us while we waited. I was there when he ran the NYC marathon, his first, and he was there when I ran my first marathon. Running those last 2 miles with him was priceless. I can't even begin to tell you how awesome it is that I too found the joy of running and can finally share this with him.

The closest my sister and I got to a sport was color guard/dance team, which is not really a sport. After I started running, my dad started again after a 7 year hiatus, and my mom started too to lose weight and get in shape. Now all 3 of us race together often, and it is awesome. We even did a marathon relay, and it's one of my most memorable races. We'll be running the Watermelon 5K on July 4th as a family with matching shirts.

Dad and I at start
Dad and I at the Corporate 5K
Last week it occurred to me that I didn't know how or why my dad started running, so I interviewed him about his running on father's day. He started running in 1987, when he was 37, to lose weight. He was already married with kids (me! and my sis Karen, and half sister Lisa). Him and his cousin ran together, but his cousin didn't keep running; my dad did. He trained and ran a 10K with his company, his first race, and got the running bug.

He kept running consistently for years, mostly racing 10Ks while we were still living in Puerto Rico. He says he rarely raced 5Ks until recently; they were just not as common as the 10K in Puerto Rico. When we moved to the US, he wasn't running as much, but finally got into the New York City Marathon in 1993. He did not get in at first and was put on a waiting list, so he stopped training, but then got in at the last minute and was not as prepared.

His most memorable race is running the NYC Marathon again in 2001, two months after 9-11. Listening to him talk about running the NYC marathon (where he grew up) with such passion is motivation enough for me to want follow in his footsteps. The 2001 marathon, which I did not witness, was an incredible experience because cops and firefighters were running in memory of those lost when the towers fell. The support and energy was unlike any other.

He also ran the Disney Marathon once, but he didn't like it -- maybe this is where I get it from =) Then again, how can any race compete with the NYC Marathon? His favorite race distance is the 10k, but he has now run 2 half marathons (I got to share with him his first half marathon in Melbourne in 2009) and loves that distance since he isn't running marathons anymore. I see many more races together in our future -- by together I mean that we run the same race because he is much faster than me :) On the schedule so far is the Miami Halloween Half, and he'll be running the Space Coast Half while I run the full marathon.

Disney Royal Family 5K
Mon and I at Disney's Royal Family 5K
My mom hasn't been running as long or as consistently, but she has caught the running bug too. Unfortunately, she has class on Saturdays when most races are held, so she's limited until August. She loves to race though, and has improved a lot in a very short amount of time. I was so proud of her for running 5 miles when we did the relay, and think she should train for a 10k but she likes the 5k distance. I'll have to work on her some more ;) We've run a few races together, as in side by side until the end, and I plan to stick with her during the Watermelon 5K.

Muddy Buddy Orlando
Jason and I, team Alice in Muddyland,
at Muddy Buddy Orlando

Jason has been athletic all his life and has probably tried every sport out there. He started running after I did, mostly running 5Ks when I did without any training (yes, I hate him too =P). Although he still claims he doesn't like it, he runs regularly and is currently training for a Half Ironman Triathlon.

We used to run together occasionally at the beginning, but having an athletic background and being a boy, his speed has increased faster than mine and is no longer feasible for us to run together. We've done a couple of races together -- UCF Adventure Race and Muddy Buddy Orlando -- and are plotting a duathlon soon (he'll bike and I'll run). We're also doing the Urban Dare in November.

So that's my running family. I can't wait to see what adventures we share next :)

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