Giving the Gift of Fitness for Father’s Day

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My Dad climbing PV Drive East

Normally on Fathers Day my father and I go fishing with my brothers. Getting the boys together like this is becoming increasingly difficult due to my brothers having children of their own now.

So this Sunday I decided to take my father out bike riding. My father has always been a fitness idol of mine. As a young man he could run the 100 yard dash in 11-12 seconds. He was a star winger on a rugby team. He has kicked my ass in Judo numerous times.

He was a runner for years. Primarily focusing on 10K’s. At forty years old he ran a 36 minute 10K. That is smoking fast. My best time is 42 minutes (but that will be shattered this year).

For over ten years he did a Cardio Commute 3 or 4 days a week to work. He would ride his bike from Palos Verdes to El Segundo and back. He’d be riding in the dark at 5 a.m. in order to make it before work, while I was snoozing away in my bed. I struggle to do one Cardio Commute a week right now.

So this Fathers Day I recommended we go bike riding. Since retiring, he has not been so good about working out. He did come to my Power Yoga class a few times, but it might have been a little too much for him. He had excuses Sunday morning about his back, fitness level, yada yada.

To give the gift of fitness, you sometimes have to be forceful. “Dad, we’re going bike riding.” Halfway on the ride, coming up to Palos Verdes Drive East, with a 3 mile sustained uphill, he tells me…

“I’m not riding up that hill.”

“Dad, you can do it. Low gears, keep your head up, and lots of breathing.”

And you know what? We did it. A steep 3 mile uphill climb with views of the ocean, the golf course, the LA basin. We laughed about his fitness level at times, but he hung in there like a warrior and did the ride.

We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon together, watching some boring golf on TV, and I got crushed in tennis by my overly competitive younger brother Jason.

I took the dog and my two year old nephew for a long walk also. Well my nephew didn’t walk, he ran. The whole time. He didn’t even let me help him up down the concrete steps on the way. Another athlete in the making. My brother has spent many hours pushing him up TRAILS in an offroad baby jogger.

As I left that day, we shook hands, and I could tell the gratitude and love in his voice as he said goodbye. Like dogs need a walk every day, we humans need to get out, use your legs, breath deeply, and cover some ground. It was nice to be of service to so many people’s fitness this weekend. To help my father like this, to teach a yoga class at Beach Runners to over 100 people, to get on a RunCall tonight and inspire others to be fit and healthy: I am trying to make a difference.

So athletes when you get up at 5 a.m, go running or riding, while the rest of the house sleeps…

you are creating karmic fitness for your whole family. The family is watching and admiring. And even if they are not following your lead immediately, the message is being sent.

Thanks Dad…for showing me the way. I’m just returning the gift.

I love you,

Gary

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(Evan, Kaiden, and Kelsea enjoying post workout recovery cones)

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