The Greatest Mile I've Ever Run

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I had the most amazing experience recently that I want to share with you.  My hope is that you can have an experience that is similar and just as rewarding.

On a Saturday evening recently, my oldest daughter and I had a date at our church.  Our men’s group was showing the movie, Courageous.  Angelo King, former Dallas Cowboy and Detroit Lion, was also present to give his testimony.  I’d been looking forward to this night for quite a long time. I’d seen Courageous and was anxious to see what my daughter’s reaction might be. If you’ve not seen this movie, I highly recommend you make an effort to see it with open eyes and an open heart. It could change your life. 

One of the struggles in the movie is between a father and son.  The son is a runner who wants his dad to run a father-son 5K with him, but his dad doesn’t see the importance. This disconnect causes a huge rift in their relationship.

Toward the end of the movie, father and son are running together.  As my daughter and I were watching the movie together at church, I reached over and poked her and just smiled.  She looked up at me and said, ''Yeah, dad, they run three miles. You run like, 10.''  Ouch, that sort of hurt.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that, as much as she has a desire to run with me, she might be intimidated or embarrassed because she doesn’t have my experience.  I immediately responded with, ''I’ll run one mile if you’ll run with me.''

My daughter and I spend lots of time talking about her desire to be athletic.  She is a retired gymnast at the ripe old age of 12 (medical reasons forced her to leave the sport).  She is at her best when she is active and not sitting in front of the television.  She is entering the 7th grade athletic program next year and hopes to run cross country.  I, of course, am very supportive and excited by this.

Since I started using a Garmin to clock my running, I’ve ran nearly 1,500 miles.  However, the day after this movie, I ran the absolute best mile of my life!  My daughter and I laced up our shoes and we went for that one-mile run.  I have never enjoyed it more in my life, to be honest.  Having her right beside me and talking to her, checking her while running, was simply amazing.

We learned a few things during and after this short run.  First of all, running shoes are a must.  I knew beforehand that my daughter may have issues with the shoes she had, but they were the best she had at the moment.  A good pair of running shoes is something that we will definitely invest in for the future.  She also learned that running one mile isn’t as far as she thought.  I think this may have been because the route we ran wasn’t a straight line or around a track, so it seemed like it wasn’t as far.  She also learned that dad can help her out, and it’s not just nagging if I’m asking her if she’s breathing.  She even sped up at the very end of the run and then told me, ''Dad, I just wanted to get it over with.''  I laughed and told her that I completely understand that!

This photo was taken as we walked out the door.

The training has started, as she now wants to run a half marathon with me in November. Shortly after her 13th birthday, we will run 13.1 together, step for step. Yes, I’m a softy, and I’ll probably cry. 

Fathers, I want to challenge each and every one of you to get active in your child’s life.  Get off the couch, get out of the chair at your desk, and get busy doing the most important job you’ll ever have.  Maybe it’s marching band, maybe it’s softball, but whatever "it" is, get active with them.  It is crucial that it be something they are interested in.  We are called to be an example for them in everything we do.  Let’s set the right example for our sons and our daughters.  Show them that life is meant to be lived.  Get out from behind the desk, get away from the television, and live life with your children. 

I have been active with my children for several years now, loving every minute and leading by example. I have learned so much about my daughters by taking an interest in their hobbies.  It is my hope that this one-mile run with my oldest daughter will open an entirely new chapter of my journey.

How do you involve your family/children in your journey?  Parents, what is the next active adventure you are planning to do with your kids?

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CLMART3 6/12/2018
What a wonderful achievement! Report
This is my inspiration to ask my 25 year old son to sign up and train for a 5K with me. Report
So it's almost 6 years later - is your daughter doing more runs these days? Report
You sound like a great dad. Congratulations! Report
This absolutely sparked me. I'm taking my little swimmer to the pool! Report
Beautiful story. Bless. Report
What a great inspirational article! Report
My youngest son and I will be taking my first grandchild up Camel's Hump. She is 20 months old and we are hoping she will learn to love being active as my son has. We first took him up the mountain when he was 3 months old (21 years ago) and now he will get to carry his niece on his strong back. Report
I love running with my kids. It makes me feel like I'm being the best mom I can be, and that I'm a good role model. I was sorely laking for the first 7 years of their lives. It's great that your girls are able and excited to do this with you! Report
This is such a great article! It is touching, motivating - and really heartfelt. Yes I also teared up a little! Report
Loved this story! It mde me tear up a bit right here at my desk at work! I too just ran a mile with my boys last week (my oldest is almost 8 and my youngest is 5 and a half) for the Fargo Marathon Kids Rock Race. My 8 year old ran off ahead of us and did great! (he runs a mile regularly for school & he is naturally athletic like his father.) My youngest grabbed my hand at the starting line and never let go of it until we crossed the finish line together! He is not as athletic as his older brother and father, (he unfortunatly is like his mother that way!) The smile on his face was amazing & I will always cherish that memory & plan to continue to encourage (and run beside them holding their hand if need be!) both my boys to set out to do the impossible! Report
Great story. We've watched your kids grow up during your spark journey. I'm one of those wierd moms who lifts weights with their son. I know what a bench press is, extensions, etc. My 35 year old daughter is training for her first triathalon. Makes my heart sing.

Skinny Report
Beautiful story! Report
Love that movie, love this blog! Can't wait till the day my 8yo daughter wants to run more than about 20 yards with me!!! Report
thats awesome! I'm running my first half next week - and my first full in October... but my husband and I will be running two 5K's together this year (he wont be running the long ones with me) Then I heard about the "GloRun 5K" and we got our teens (14 and 16) to agree to run that with us! Can't wait to run our first 5K with half of our children. I'm looking forward to the younger ones getting to the age to run with us as well. Report
Awesome! Report
This is simply wonderful!! You are an inspiration to fathers (and parents) everywhere, and you have even restored my faith in dads wanting to be active in their children's lives. Keep up the amazing work and I hope training goes well! Report
Thank you for sharing your story. I love when I get to hear about the Lord's nudging (just like you poking your daughter- He poked you) to something and we do it. The result is such incomparable joy! Report
what a great story.. you must be proud, love it when I hear that a parent is creating a roll model in their childs life.. something that I hope that I am doing for my children.. Report
what a great story.. you must be proud, love it when I hear that a parent is creating a roll model in their childs life.. something that I hope that I am doing for my children.. Report
The best miles of my life were also the most difficult, the last six of my first marathon. My daughter came out to run the segment with me. She coaxed and encouraged me to get to a finish line that I don't know if I could have reached without her. I will be eternally grateful for that day with a very special girl! Report
What a great story. My dad wanted me to run with him, and I wouldn't for many of the same reasons your daughter seems to have had. He's gone now, so I won't get the chance, but I think of him when I'm out there. Report
My sons, grown now with children of their own, got bitten by baseball fever when our Litttle League in La Mirada arranged to have a "training session with the
Dodgers Manager, Tommy Lasorda, First Baseman Steve Garvey (yeah, he really has that goofy smile) and third basemen Ron Cey. If you know anything about the 1960's Dodgers, you know that this was half of one of the best infield teams of all time. Garvey covered first, Davy Lopes was at second, Billy Russel was at short and Ron Cey was at third. Finally, Mike Scosia was calling the signals.

We moved to Houston the next year, but my sons were still Dodger fans. The first game the Dodgers came in to play - we were on the road. We had snapshots of the boys with their friend Robbie, and Tommie Lasorda. My youngest son announced he wanted to take the picture with him (he was 5), "So Mr. Lasorda could sign it".

My DW and I thought the chances of that happening were slim and none, but when we got to the stadium and asked what were the best seats we could get behind the visitors dug-out, the ticket lady said, "Do you want to sit on the 5th or 6th row - directly behind the dugout.

I slapped down the money, grabbed the tickets and ran. Field level seats in Texas were just a little more than the outfield tickets at Dodger Stadium.

We had come early enough to watch batting practice, and when the Dodgers had finished up and come back into the dugout, Blake grabbed the picture and was hanging over the dugout asking Coach Lasorda to sign his picture. Tommy signed the picture, then looked at it and saw that one of the boys was Blake. He then ducked down into the dugout. Blake was only one step from getting to our row when an usher stopped him by calling, "Hey kid - you in the Missouri City Mustangs shirt, Mr. Lasorda wants you to come back!"

He went back down and talked with Tommy for a few minutes, shook his head yes and pointed back up to where we were sitting. Tommy went back into the dugout and Blake blazed the steps back to our seats. He was so excited it took him three starts before we could understand him.

Mr. Lasorda had signed the picture, saw it was a picture of three young boys and himself and asked Blake where he had got it.

Blake, my youngest son, has never, ever met a stranger and was his usual self, explaining about the training session with he, Garvey and Cey; the thing with the picture of them, and then told him of our move to Houston, "But we were still Dodger fans, not these old Astros".

Blake hadn't heard Tommy say wait for a second when he went into the dugout. When he signaled for Blake to come back, he gave Blake two autographed balls, one made out to him and one for our oldest son, Eric.

I coached and managed Little League and Pony League baseball for 15 of the happiest years of my life. My sons played on different fields, sometimes with games overlapping. My wife and I would take two cars and go to the first sons game, then I'd take the other son to his game. We'd all meet at the second sons game, and at the end we always had a soft drink and a hotdog (that's the spirit of baseball, right!)

Both of my sons now have children in sports. My 15 year old granddaughter played for her high school's Varsity Softball team this year as a Freshman, and now participates in a Tournament Team that travels from Texas to Illinois, then to Colorado, back to Texas and then their last tournament is in California.

My oldest grandson is right handed, but he kicks the soccer ball left footed, which has surprised a number of opponents in their soccer league. He is fast, aggressive and still needs to learn teamwork. When he gets the ball, he doesn't understand he should share, especially since he runs faster than anyone else and none of the soccer goalies has blocked any of his shots, except one.

In their very first game he went right down the middle, thought the goalie was going to go to his left and he smashed the ball towards the goalie. The goalie had not had anyone run straight at him, and got confused. He just stood there with his hands raised and the soccer ball got him square on the nose and knocked him down.

By the time the coaches got to him he was very, very upset, yelling and throwing blood everywhere. Eli saw what happened and ran to the sidelines for Dad and Mom and was crying by the time he got there. "Daddy, I didn't mean to hurt him, I just wanted to score! He was supposed to go to the left or right, but he just stood there."

It took as long to calm Eli down and explain he had done nothing wrong as it did to calm the goalie down and the coaches were praising him for being so tough and not letting the opponents score.

Somehow, the remainder of the game was played at about half speed with both teams very timid. Eli's team won, 1-0, but he was more concerned for the other goalie to enjoy the win.

I felt like I was floating on air, realizing I had taught the person who taught him about good sportsmanship and making the game fun.

A friend from work once asked me how I did it - working 60+ hours a week and coaching and managing my sons.

I told him, "How can I not? They are only this age for a relatively short time and I want to enjoy it before girls start messing with their minds".

I think the most important thing parents can do is teach their children how to win and lose gracefully, how to work and support a team in team sports, and how to focus on practicing right.

I taught them both that practice didn't make perfect; "Perfect practice made perfect".

I taught my sons that, "Win or lose, no one will ever hold good sportsmanship against you". That was shown to be true the entire time I coached and managed, except once. Both my sons were pitchers and played other positions - my oldest son was a finesse pitcher and my youngest was a straight fastball thrower, but he occasionally had control problems.

We had won a game and everyone was going down the line with the "good game, good game" ritual when a parent from the other team came on to the field and headed straight for my son with fire in his face. He grabbed my son and I put him on the ground. As it turned out, he had had a few beers and he thought my son was deliberately intimidating the kids on his sons team, as well as his son.

He was finally convinced when one of his sons school friends came over to talk to his son and asked if Blake had pitched. The answer was affirmative and then this youg man said, "Man, he's fast. The first time we played him nobody even got a hit. My dad says he has control problems because (he turned to the side, lifted up his shirt and said), "See this? He gave me this on Thursday in the first inning (he sported a bruise that was the exact size of a baseball), you can even see the stitches on the baseball. I got him back though. I got a double the next time I was up.

I am 100% convinced that you owe it to your children to teach them the value of sports and recreation. Your support of them, win, lose or draw, makes more difference than you can possibly be aware of. Then there's that 120% love that you get back because they know you are having fun with them. Report
great blog Jerome! looking forward to reading more about your and your daughters runs! Report
Your girls are so fortunate to have you as their dad! And I'm so fortunate to have you as my leader!

Love ya. Report
OMG...I am such a cry baby! I loved your blog and the love you show to your kids! I can't think of a better way to get to know your daughter than getting out there and training together! What a wonderful impact you have made on her life......still crying...thanks! Report
What a beautiful and inspiring story. Good for you. You are giving your daughter a lifetime of memories with good health thrown in for good measure. I commend you!!! Report
What a beautiful and inspiring story. Good for you. You are giving your daughter a lifetime of memories with good health thrown in for good measure. I commend you!!! Report
What a beautiful and inspiring story. Good for you. You are giving your daughter a lifetime of memories with good health thrown in for good measure. I commend you!!! Report
LOVED this blog ... on several levels. You're a great dad and I commend you for that more than anything!

Still wiping the tears from my cheeks ... Report
FANTASTIC!!!!!! Report
Great picture and story. See you both at the finish line! Report
Love this article and I got teary eyed. Report
My daughter and I started going on Volkwalks together when she was 8 or 9. She is 28 and a long distance runner now. She and I ran our first marathon together 8 years ago. This last weekend she ran a 50 mile trail run and was the 4th woman finisher. So, she's left me in the dust, but I still run and we both encourage each other. Report
This is a beautiful and inspirational story. I admit, I got teary-eyed reading it. I'm not a parent (yet) but I hope that when I do, I can also lead by example of a healthy and active lifestyle. Report
My happiest year in high school was junior year when I ran cross country. I was in the best shape of my life and had extreme self-satisfaction every time I finished a race. If I can do it all over again, I would run for all 4 years of high school and train harder to make varsity. I hope your daughter sticks with it and does well. I wish her all the best!! Report
My daughter and I ran our first half-marathon together last fall. Though she left me in her dust :), it was still a memory I will cherish forever. We were supposed to run a 30K together this past spring, but she experienced an injury early in her training that prevented her from participating... I still have the text that she sent, telling me that she watched me cross the finish line. These are truly special moments, without question. Thanks for the blog. Report
This made me tear up!

"Courageous" is definitely a wonderful movie...there are many lessons to be learned from it!!

That is wonderful that you and your daughter are embarking on this journey will be a great bonding and learning experience for the both of you!!! Way to go! You are an excellent father! Report
Great Blog...I will look for that movie. Sad for us though, my father passed away 15 years ago, my sons father (my husband) passed away when he was 3 years old and my daughters father hasn't had anything to do with her since she was born, 14 years ago... Any story with a father and CHILD really get to me. But, your story has inspired me to run with my kids. We did a 5K the day before mothers day. My son came in first for his age bracket, and my daughter did too! I came in 6th, don't know how many participants their were, but that's not the point. I walked...power walked..I would love to be able to run some day. 1/2 mile...maybe even 1 mile. Never been a runner..But your story relaly inspired me. Thanks Report
That is a wonderful blog. My sons are Cub Scouts, and I just "graduated" from Participating Parent to Assistant Den Leader. (So has my wife) Children will always take better pride in their activities when their parents participate. Leading by example, feeding a preamble, towards a lifetime of memories and experiences. Report
Great story and I'm a softy too when it comes to my kids - anything we do 'together' means that much more!! Report
Thank you for sharing that personal and heartfelt moment with us. I, too, have found ways to get out and do things with my daughter. Still need to work on the other one, but with my oldest we really enjoy the hobby of Geocaching. It gets us outdoors and talking. We grew so much closer last fall. I'm not ready for a run, but there are always other activities to pursue. Report
Love this blog! Report
Touching story! Thanks for sharing this personal moment with us! Report
Awww soo touching! Thanks for posting what should count in our lives. Yes, you are right, you only ran a mile but it was a quality mile - shared with someone who counts in your life....I don't have kids but I try to spend lots of time with my nieces. And yes, sometimes I don't really want to do what they want to but I try to do it anyway for them.
Great blog, great story!! And that comment about the fathers being more active in their kids lives also applies to Moms! We as a family walked a 5k Annual Walk/Run a couple weeks ago, my oldest son commented that next year he wants to run it. I too plan to run it and hope that we too can run together as you guys did! Report
Very inspirational !!! Report
Thanks for sharing! I am not a runner but recently invested in the Wii fit and bellydance. It's nice to see the kids want to do it with me:) Report
Yeah, I cried, too...and thought of my daughter, and how as soon as I hit "enter", I'm gonna hug and kiss her, and promise to walk/run/whatever, a mile with her... Report
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