(The original article was published a year ago in Sampaloc Times, a newsletter of my beloved home church where I grew up.)
In the tradition of the upcoming Father’s Day, I would like to remember my dad, and the life lessons I learned from him. He did not live long, as he passed away when he was just 50 years old (scary, that’s only 7 years from how old I am now), but he left me with a good legacy and equipped me enough to tackle the world.
Love of Running
My father loves to run. Three times a week, long before the sun rises, he was already jogging around our neighborhood. He had the discipline to conquer his self and the world.
I remember when he took me running at a very early age, I believe I was still in elementary. We would be weaving our way in the dark streets of Manila that are sparsely lit by a few street lamps, while most of the neighborhood were still snoring in their beds. He told me that I do not have to worry about muggers and robbers as by this time of the day, they were gone, and the only people on the streets on this hour, were good and hard-working people who were trying to have a lead start in the day.
Sure enough we will pass vendors arranging their goods, newspaper boys already making their delivery, and a few busy people scuttling their way to work. We also would pass by bakeries that were already open (the only stores open in our locale this early), and would get a whiff of the “pandesal” that they were baking in their ovens. My father told me that all I have to watch for are a few stray dogs that may chase us, but he believes I am fast enough anyway to outrun them.
My father continued running until the time he started having dizzy spells, causing him to stumble and fall. He initially thought that he was just pushing himself too hard; so he continued to run. Only later on will we find out that the dizziness was caused by a growing tumor in his brain. Only then did he stop running; not because his love for it waned, but because his strength and ability waned.
In his last days, he was reduced to a wheelchair. I painfully remember as I helped him stand – I was supporting the once strong hands that held me up to make my first steps, but now I’m propping up, to take his last.
I continued where he left off, for I kept on running. I still enjoy the wind in my face, the sweat in my brows, and feeling the steady rhythm of my fast heart beat. Last fall, I ran my first half marathon, and hopefully someday I’ll do a full one.
Yes, I have my father to thank for this healthy habit I developed. But more so, I believed this instilled in me the drive and the endurance to do things that many people think cannot be done, and gave me a head start while the rest of the world still slumbers.