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"Running Commentary"

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Daughter, Father
    My youngest daughter has been bugging me for weeks. She wants me to write a column telling everyone in Kansas she beat me in a 5K race in Marysville.
OK, here goes. Sara Alison beat me … allegedly.
There! Happy now?
It’s far too early to concede entirely. Not gonna do it. And besides, the race results are in dispute. I have already contacted the Race Director to demand a full and impartial recount of everyone who ran. EVERY SINGLE RUNNER – males, females, children, three-legged puppy dogs and old farts.
I have NEVER lost a race to one of my children. Can’t happen. Therefore, if the recount doesn’t go my way, I fully intend to have my lawyers file baseless lawsuits alleging fraud and corruption – all the way to the Kansas Supreme Court.
It’s the American way. If you lose? Sue the bastards.
    Can’t you see what’s happening here? Those !@#!%  Democrats did it again. The liberal media is trying to steal the race results. FAKE NEWS! The race was RIGGED!
A registered nurse at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville, Sara flew out to help celebrate her grandmother’s recent 100th birthday. It so happens my 42-yr.-old, 116-lb. offspring is in the best shape of her life. You couldn’t “pinch an inch” on her midriff with a big pair of pliers.
Sara wanted some quality father-daughter time together and decided the Marysville race would be perfect. She registered early and told me to do the same. “No problem,” says me.
I should have listened. When I attempted to register, I was blocked. They had reached the maximum number of runners for the 5K race. YIKES!
I’ve run hundreds if not thousands of races and never had that happen. It didn’t occur to me that the rules might be different with COVID-19. The Race Director put a cap on the number of participants – 75.
Did I feel bad about being shut-out? Well, uhhh … is that like a trick question? Sure! Yeah, I felt a little bad, mostly because I knew Sara was going to kill me when she flew out from Virginia. On the other hand, unlike my daughter, I am NOT in the best shape of my life. I was OK with being a spectator.
Five months ago, my life flipped upside-down. In June, I adopted a 16-lb. newspaper columnist named Boulder McGraw; before that, I was working out every day. I could peel off 5-6 miles at a sub 10:00 mile pace, breathing rather easily. Not too shabby for a 74-year-old California kid.
Then came the Great Invasion – Boulder. I immediately transitioned to my new role as father of a 16 lb., nine-week old baby boy, who was dependent upon Daddy for virtually everything – dog biscuits, sustenance, love and affection. Being a new father at my age is roughly equivalent to reincarnation – born again.
I had my ticket punched to Puppy Heaven.
Out with easy-going retirement. In with fatherhood.  
I love my puppy; however, my ability to take off and workout whenever I wanted was necessarily put on hold. Puppy? Did I say puppy? That little bottle of high nonstop energy now weighs over 50 lbs. He’s gaining on me.
Sara was hugely disappointed upon hearing I would be on the sidelines rooting for her, rather than participating with her. Big difference. And here, I’ll tell you something about my daughter – she’s pushy!! Not merely pushy. REALLY pushy!
First thing Sara did after giving her father a hug at the Salina Airport was to call the Race Director to see if there were any runners who canceled, allowing yours truly to participate. And just my luck – someone did indeed drop out.
Yippee Ki-yay. Oh joy, I had to run.
On the day of the race, as Sara and I warmed up, she asked how I felt. I told her honestly – I didn’t care how slow I ran, I just wanted to finish. But it would be terribly embarrassing if I had to stop in the middle of the race to walk a little. Sara said there are worse things in life than that. “Not to me,” I replied.
You see, 20 bleepin’ years ago, I was good. Really good. At the age of 50, waaaaay past my prime, I was still fast enough to be seeded up front with Kenyans and Ethiopians at a major road race in Philadelphia. Ranked nationally in master’s competitions, I ran the Boston Marathon three times. I have drawers filled with medals and ribbons.
It ain’t braggin’ if you can back it up!
But that was then, and Marysville was now.
How did I do? Well, I did walk a short stretch, but finished the race … feeling really good about the experience of sharing the day with the daughter I love so deeply. And just like old times, I embarrassed her by goofing off as I approached the finish line – mimicking an airplane with wings, spinning around, running backwards, and leaping into the air at the finish.
Hey, I was happy – I could stop running.  
How did Sara do? OMG! Get this – against 75 men and women, Sara finished 2nd overall. Only one man beat her. Dad couldn’t have been prouder.
Ergo, is it time to finally concede? Heck no!
Not until after the recount.

Epilogue: Embarrassing one’s children is part of being a parent. As natural as dripping chocolate syrup on vanilla ice cream.  


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