Nothing I’ve experienced is as fulfilling and gratifying as being a dad. It’s my most favorite thing about life. Parenthood is a privilege and a true blessing.
I think most would agree that being a parent is equal parts amazing and terrifying. It’s not something that can accurately be described. It’s one of those things you just have to experience for yourself.
Nearly every single day I find myself in disbelief that I’m actually a father. I’m constantly wondering what I did to deserve such a gift. My son is my pride and joy.
Also, I still find myself in disbelief and shock that I’m actually responsible for another human being. Thinking about all the responsibilities of fatherhood is panic-inducing.
It’s no secret that I’m not a very adulty adult. I still feel (and act) like a kid myself, but yet I’m allowed to call the plays in the life of another human? Yikes.
Who am I to lead a little person out into this expansive, expensive, and overwhelming world?
Obviously, I embellish a bit, but really if I had to pass a test in order to become a dad, I would’ve failed miserably.
As would most men.
The dad life can be daunting. I roll out every day on a wing and a prayer.
If not for my hero of a wife, I’d be totally lost. My son and I would both struggle to survive without her. We’ve hilariously ventured down that path before. See Three Days That Taught me to Appreciate My Wife (you moms will get a kick out of that one, check it out if you haven’t already).
Luckily, when life becomes too much, I have the perfect medicine.
I Just Felt Like Running
If you’ve followed any of my work you know that running is a huge part of my life. It’s my medicine for many ailments. If I don’t run, I implode.
These days, I run for my physical and mental health. But, it was competition that first lured me to this acute form of torture.
For the first few years of my running career, running was about racing. I’ve always been fueled by competition, and races provided much-needed needed motivation.
Completing any endurance event is an accomplishment in itself regardless of where you finish. I’ve ran dozens of races, from 1-milers to half marathons. I’ve won a few races, and I’ve finished closer to the bottom in a few races. Some were easy, some were incredibly difficult. But, I’m proud to say I’ve finished each and every race I’ve entered.
I’m often asked which race is my most memorable race. One race in particular always sticks out.
A few years ago, I was blessed to be able to finish my favorite race with my son.
My wife, who notoriously documents nearly every significant life-moment, was in the right place at the right time with her camera rolling.
Sometimes in life things work out so perfectly that you know it can’t just be coincidence.
Before we get to the footage, let me set it up with the proper context.
A Photo Finish
This happened in 2015 at the Crazy 8’s 8K race.
The Crazy 8’s is the premier running event in my hometown and my favorite race. Known as the world’s fastest 8K, it’s an eight kilometer night race in the middle of summer. Where I’m from, if you don’t run any other races all year long, you run the Crazy 8’s.
This race was where my running obsession started, so it holds a special place in my heart. It’s an event for our entire family.
To me, what makes this race unique is the final 100 yards. The finish is inside a football stadium. Spectators are lined four-deep on both sides of the course. Runners are displayed on the Jumbo-tron as they enter the stadium and run across the field. There are lights, music, people clapping and cheering.
It’s absolutely spectacular and something I look forward to all year long.
In 2015, I was running my fifth consecutive Crazy 8’s. Up until that race, I had always bested my time from the previous year, which is my goal for every race.
Eight weeks of dedicated training leading up to the race had me feeling ready. I had high hopes.
I flew through the first half of the race on a pace to crush my personal record. After passing the halfway point, the course began a slow, steady incline for about ¾ of a mile.
As I started my ascent, I remember all of a sudden feeling nauseous and totally drained. My legs turned to jello. My lungs burned as I gasped for oxygen. I ran the first half of the race way too fast.
Luckily, there was a water stop near the three mile mark halfway up the long hill, and I did something that I had never done in this race: I stopped running.
I took some water and doubled over with my hands on my knees, trying desperately to catch my breath. Something wasn’t right. Every joint in my body ached, and I was exhausted. I rested for a few minutes and contemplated just pulling out of the race. I felt like death.
Although I was past the halfway point, there were still two miles left to go. I was ready to throw in the towel and begin a walk of shame back down the hill.
My son, who was six at the time, was waiting for me near the finish line. I thought to myself, what kind of message would I be sending to him if I were to quit the race? That it’s okay to back out when things get tough? No way.
I had to keep going.
I mustered up enough energy to get moving again and ran through the remainder of the course on sheer adrenaline. Usually, I’d be focused on my time and pace, but those were the least of my concerns.
As I neared the stadium and began the push to the finish line, I reminded myself of the only reason I was able to make it that far: my boy.
Like I mentioned earlier, the finish to this race is awesome, and I thought the only thing that would make it better would be to share the experience with him.
What happened next was something I will never forget. I’m so incredibly grateful that my wife was there to capture a moment that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.
Below you’ll find the raw (emphasis on “raw”), uncut footage of this impromptu moment set to the soulful sounds of Milli Vanilli.