For many of us with back problems, knee problems, or just getting on with age, running isn’t what it used to be. And when it starts to get in the way of activities with the family, our health is not the only thing that suffers.
I’ve always admired my uncle’s consistent running dates with his daughter. When she was between the ages of 14 and 16, my uncle went running with her three times a week, come rain, shine, or sundown. Right after her 16th birthday, however, my uncle’s knees started to get sore, and then heel injuries from their activities finally put him, quite literally, out of the running. Minimalist running shoes were quite uncommon at that time; they, along with zero drop and other related forms of minimal footwear, are still only beginning to gain traction. At the time, barefoot running was almost all that was available. After a month and a half of therapy, his doctor reluctantly gave him permission to run barefoot on the grass to reduce impact on his heels. That reduced impact was less jarring on his knees, and he began to see improvement in both areas. His daughter ran with him, coming home several times a week with green feet from recently mowed parks or neighborhood lawns.
Even so, they were ready for more than just a mile or two running around city parks with no shoes on. That’s when he found minimalist running shoes that would give him the same benefits of barefoot running without shredding his feet on pavement, concrete, or asphalt.
Now, I’m not intending to advertise crossfit shoes or five-toe shoes. It’s simply what happened to his body.
What happened with his daughter—now that’s another story.
She didn’t break every record when she went to college. In fact, she didn’t join track or cross-country at all. Though admirable, those things were hardly the point of their daddy-daughter running dates. No, the wonderful part is that she went to college, and she and my uncle stayed in touch, checking with each other each week. And though they lived in different states while she was at college, they went running together as often as possible. She recently graduated with a degree in biology, and she’s working before she becomes a veterinarian. She made it through her undergrad with top grades, she never got drunk or even touched alcohol, and she respected herself so much that she found a guy who respects her, too. They’re getting married in two months.
She thanks her dad for it all. Not in one of those (let’s be honest) fake, “I’d like to thank everybody, even my kindergarten teacher whose name I really don’t recall” thanks. She said that she learned to respect her body and herself because her dad always took the time to show her that she was worth the time.
And who would have thought a few runs a week could do that?
[author_info]About the Author
Guest writer Jared Heath is a contributing editor at http://www.altrazerodrop.com who passionately loves his wife, his family, and his exercise. He recently made his personal goal of bench-pressing 250 pounds in three sets of 10, and he loves to set the proverbial bar a little higher on a regular basis.