Letters to My Dad: I Run Once More

So Pa, I’m sure you’re happy to know, I started running again.

Yes, it’s true, I hate running. I hate the way my lungs feel like they are about to expire from lack of breath, the never ending pounding on the tarmac, the runny nose and phlegmy chest I get from running in the cold….I’m not sure I like a single thing about running. Not to mention, my technique was pretty shit – and still is. I overextend my strides, my posture is horrific and my glutes are not properly activated. Honestly, if I had a video of me running (which I do actually!), it would be a mirror image of a baby elephant reverberating through the forest and devastating wildlife….

And yet, here I am, running again. Injuries and all (trying to fix that as I go along), the ghastly winter cold biting into my fingers, I run in the rain, in the fog. The last time I ran, it was a year after you left this crappy world (Donald Trump is now the POTUS, enough said) for a better place. The reason I run today is the same reason I ran in 2008.

You were always my Rock, Papa. You still are. When life throws down its gauntlet, I find the courage to answer life’s challenge only because you have given me the strength to do so. When I get beaten down to a pulp, I somehow find the will in me to carry on, only because you taught me the value of perseverance. When everything seems bleak and hopeless, I find the faith to look beyond today and hope for tomorrow, only because you showed me what it was to have despair in your eyes but to never give up on your heart.

We used to run together. You were a triathlete and an ironman. Yet, running was your least favourite sport. I still wonder why you dragged me along…I remember our talks when we used to run, your advice, your voice. We ran in races as well – you always tried your best to run with me, but there were times you were waiting for me at the finish line with a “what took you so long?” quip. You used to wake me up on holidays so that we could run wherever it was we were, just as the sun was rising. By the beach, in the forest, on the road….Now I know that those moments were precious – we bonded over the pain, we bonded over the sweat, we bonded over the (lack of) conversation.

Now although I run alone, there are times when I can almost catch a glimpse of your running profile, you in your gaping singlet (seriously Pa, your dress sense…), running shorts, sweat dripping everywhere (because it’s crazy humid in Malaysia) and that voice saying to me “the finish line is just around the corner”. Even though I know you might be stretching the truth just a little, I smile to myself and pick up my pace.

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