Running With My Father
Sort of a disclaimer, I started to write this post tonight as a recap of my day but all of a sudden I got the urge to just write about my father. It came out of no where but the words just poured out. This might not make sense to you or you might not understand, but don't feel sad because this helped more than anything, I got to express my words to my father.
When I am running, I am clear and free. Yes, at times it really does suck. Running in the summer really really sucks, running after work sucks, running and having sweat drip down your face and burn your contacts is the worse and running with an injury is not any better, BUT despite how much it sucks, the satisfaction I get afterwords can not even be described. Today, after work seriously I wanted nothing more than to run. It excites me and makes me feel invincible at times. It is the craziest feeling, I truly love it.
Running gives me a chance to become closer to my father. As mentioned before he died last March, it was very unexpected and too soon. I never thought I was going to lose my father at 26, never, it seriously never even crossed my mind. My father was an alcoholic. He relapsed a couple of years ago by using heroin to fix knee pain he suffered from. I had believed that he was clean but he was clever and was hiding it. I lived in Florida, a good 1300 miles away from him, and I knew nothing. I didn't know that he was sneaking vodka and spending days, hours and almost weeks in his room drinking. I heard all these stories after he was gone.
The last time I spoke to my father was 4 weeks before his death. We discussed how he was getting back into exercise. He was going to the gym, working out and he said he was feeling really great. He sounded amazing. What happened to him after that phone call, I will never know. He was proud of me for my weight loss and told me I was his inspiration for going back to the gym. I tried to contact him twice before I got the phone call he had died, I wanted to see how his work outs were going and how he was feeling. He decided to ignore my phone calls. I tell myself, he did that because it was his way of dealing with the fact he had gone back to drinking, and he gone back harder than ever before. I tell myself he did this because he didn't want to disappoint me. If he only knew, he could never disappoint me, I just wanted to Save Him.
I don't look back or think of my father as the person he was the last couple of years. That man was not Duane Allerton, that man was broken, sad and defeated. I think of the man who was funny, full of life, caring, generous, sensitive and an athlete. My father dealt with addiction my whole life and probably for 35 years of his own, he just couldn't out run it. When I was younger he was sent to a rehab, I remember when he came back he looked better than I ever saw him. He would work out and run.
He ran all the time.
He would come home from work, put on his grey sweatpants and wrap himself in saran wrap and run. He would come back and hope on the stationery bike and sweat out temptation and gain satisfaction. I looked at him, like he was strongest man in the world.
Fast forward and he went back to rehab in 2002, he had another rough run. 2002 he came out and went back to that routine. My dad looked amazing!!! I called these years , "the good years" 2002-2009, 7 really, really good years. My father ran again, his business was doing amazing and my father was the strongest man. His running inspired me and thrilled me. And when I started running, I channeled his strength and determination, his blood runs through mine and I wanted to carry on his love of running.
My father is gone.
I will never see him again, hear his voice or feel his hugs, but he is with me.
This past May I got a tattoo in loving memory of him. It is a letter I found on the back of a picture of him I had taken, I never noticed the picture before and when I read it, it was my sign. He told me I saved him. All I wanted to do was save him again, but I think neither one of us was strong enough for that. I took that letter, that meant the world to me and got it tattooed on my foot, so my father runs with me. We never got to do it together and now we can now and always.
I am not much of a spiritual person, but I believe in signs. I live for signs and look for them. When I run and I feel a breeze when I just about to give it up I know it is my dad, when Angie by The Rolling Stones comes on in a shuffle right at that perfect moment, I know its him. When I just feel like giving up and I feel a push, I know its him telling me I can do it. I didn't get to say goodbye to my dad or tell him someone loved him more than his own life. I hope he knew how much I adored him and just wanted him to get better and get back to us. My way of showing him how much I love him and miss him is by carrying on.
When I lace up my shoes, I know he is lacing his up too. I know he is fit, healthy and more than anything happy, wherever his soul is now.
I know that my father runs now because he is running beside me.