Nate Waggenspack: Father’s Day race will renew running bond with Dad
I thought about leading this column with a story about my dad, something that might represent our relationship well, but that’s not going to work.
Because when he reads this (he reads everything I write for some reason) he’d remember the story differently and chalk the difference in our recollections up to the way our brains make things up over time (something he’s read), as opposed to him just being wrong and me being right.
So maybe a couple sarcastic paragraphs to lead a Father’s Day column are just right, because we’re usually giving each other a hard time when we’re together.
But he’s been just the right fit for the past 25 years for a sports-crazy son like me. He introduced me to sports, initially through his love for basketball, and was my coach in grade school basketball, soccer and track.
That last sport is the one that has really impacted my life. Running has become one of the most important things in my life, both as an outlet for my competitiveness and as an escape from the stress and disappointment that builds up throughout time in day-to-day life. For everyone in Craig who honks at me while running or mentions that they saw me out, know that my dad is the man responsible for it.
At my grade school, we had a munchkin track team that had a few meets each spring, so I got started running in kindergarten. Dad ran to help himself relax more than anything else, but he was still a good enough coach to teach us about pacing ourselves in the longer races.
I’ve been a distance guy ever since, and Dad’s been there every step of the way. I could count on him to be at a spot with less fans at every cross-country race or coming off the final turn at every track meet, offering his own brand of a calm challenge. Whereas I could always hear my mom because she’s really loud, Dad made himself heard at just a normal volume because I was listening for him.
Last year, he came to Craig and we drove to the Utah Valley Marathon together, where I ran my first 26-mile race.
After running his half marathon, Dad came and found me struggling to the finish. My race had completely fallen apart, but he jogged beside me and we talked for a couple miles until the finish line was in sight. I don’t remember what we talked about, probably nothing important. But I probably would have stopped and walked without him.
This weekend, we’re headed to Vancouver, Washington, for another race together. Regardless of our finishing times, we’ll have fun. We’ll talk racing strategy beforehand and speak about what went right or wrong afterward. We’ll have fun around Vancouver once we’ve recovered.
Most importantly, we’ll be together, doing something we both love.
Nate Waggenspack needs to beat his dad by 26 minutes in the half marathon to win the race and he plans on doing it, Father’s Day or not. Contact him at 970-875-1795 or nwaggenspack@CraigDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CDP_Sports .