Friday, August 26, 2011

My Dad: 70 And Going Stronger Than Ever

My dad is amazing. I could probably leave this post at that statement, but I won’t. He just turned 70 on June 1st (he also shares that birthday with my wife’s dad), and he works out 304 times each week at the Parkersburg YMCA. He rides an exercise bike, hops on a treadmill, and even does the elliptical machine during his two hour workouts.

In 2009 he had a heart attack, and at that time he was walking 12 miles a day. In fall 2008, he and I went on a bike ride that included four miles of an eight percent incline—thankfully he didn’t have a heart attack then, because we were in a remote area. We have made a tradition of journeying at least once each year to the top of Seneca Rocks over the last several years, and we took Jamie along for her first trek this past July.  When dad had the heart attack we wondered if he would be able to keep going like he has in the past. Honestly, he is amazingly fit. I venture to say he is more fit than the majority of people who are half his age.

Earlier this spring, my brother and nephew got a healthy dose of my dad’s fitness as he took them on 25 and 30 mile bike rides averaging 15mph+ in between his workout days.

For the last year, my dad hasn’t been able to walk longer distances because of some inflammation in his plantar fascia, but he has been continuing to exercise and push himself in areas where he can get good cardio work in.

Where many of us would see our setbacks my dad makes adjustments and keeps going strong. Last weekend he and I road our bikes around the course of the Parkersburg half-marathon so we could cheer on our family and friends who were competing. There was never a time I was waiting for my dad; in fact sometimes it was quite the opposite. He is a daily inspiration to me to always be pushing the envelope to be the best I can be in whatever I do.

We all encounter setbacks, injuries, and challenges in this life, but a big part of our the outcome of our life is how we respond to those challenges. My dad has lost his life-long best friend (my mom) to breast cancer, and suffered a massive heart-attack within two years of each other. But he perseveres. He gets up each day, and does his best to make the most of it. He doesn’t see it in himself, but if you spend much time around him, and observe the way he lives, he is one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet.

None of us truly know the number of our days, but while we live and breathe on this earth, we have an opportunity to make the most of this time. I’ve heard it said that the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives. May we find examples in our life who push us, and encourage us by the way they go about their days, and may we imulate the disciplined way of living that allows us to truly blossom, so that if we live to be 70 like my dad, we will also be going stronger than ever!

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