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Dads on the run

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POSTED January 5, 2010 3:33 a.m.

I remember once catching a glimpse of my father actually running.

He was making a mad dash from the car to the corner market to buy a half-gallon carton of milk for the family. The engine was still idling with one of my sisters and me sitting inside his 1957 Chevy.

He may have been concerned that the car would stall away from the house. It took him numerous frustrating times to turn the ignition in order to get the motor off and running.

It was shocking for my sister and me to see our dear dad actually run. The only time you saw a parent in my neighborhood do anything that remotely resembled any form of exercise occurred when chasing down one of the troublesome kids for wrongdoing.

Most parents these days exercise. Many belong to gyms while others find time to take regular walks or jogs along the city streets.

My father died within a year or two after that moment from a massive heart attack. All I know is that as seasonal farm laborer and dishwasher, he was constantly working in order to provide for the family and never had time to worry about his own health.

However, my mom, who’s in her golden years, has been lap swimming for the better part of 30 years. During the winter months, she rides her stationary bike in the morning while managing to keep away from the bad foods.

So I’ve been influenced by my parents on fitness choices.

Since 1991, I’ve maintained memberships with various health clubs.

The first as an adult was with the YMCA. The downtown Fresno facility was losing out to the trendy health clubs when I was part of some massive membership drive.

The YMCA turned out to be a good fit particularly once I got in with the afternoon hoop crowd. I still miss playing pickup games with many of those guys.

Over the years, I’ve gone through all of the various exercise trends, from a rigid workout regiment to making excuses for not making it out to the gym. I did the Stairmaster regularly for years to the point that I can’t even set foot on this equipment.

I even went through a period of jumping from one club to another with hopes of finding some motivation.

I rediscovered that motivation via exercise classes about six months ago. Since then, I’ve been a regular in the cycle classes, adding Pilates and boot camp to the group dynamics.

Meanwhile, my son, Josh, has never been a stranger to seeing me run. In fact, I’ll jokingly send him a reminder.

You see, a few years ago, I managed to beat him and one of his youth baseball buddies in a “Dash to Home Plate” sprint as part of the fan attraction in San Francisco during the MLB All-Star Week.

“Hah! You guys let an old man beat you (in a race),” I said.

They’re hoping for a rematch. Sorry boys, not likely.


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