I’m preparing to walk the SeaWheeze half marathon in Vancouver in August. My Dad walks 4 miles every other morning so since arriving in BC I’ve been tagging along. Our walks take us up several grueling hills to a neighborhood that has fantastic horse trails.
This is what our 6:30am walks look like:
Dad: a relentless staccato like the energizer bunny, legs like pistons fueled by a single cup of coffee with a splash of half and half and a few drops of honey.
Me: trudging, shuffling, jogging a bit to catch up whenever I fall behind, holding onto my boobs when I jog because this is supposed to be a walk and I didn’t put on a sports bra.
Dad: offering up a cheerful hello and a bit of early morning humor to any neighbors we pass; able to provide commentary on everything going on in the neighborhood, and express disapproval at all the empty patios where people should be reading the paper with their morning coffee.
Me: managing to hold my breath and smile so passers by don’t hear my panting and wheezing; occasionally gasping out answers to Dad’s questions or comments, or giving a pathetic excuse for being 10 steps behind him, “I’m having coffee cramps, I think I’m going to shit myself.” “I’m staying back here because I have gas.”
Dad: the only sound I hear is the rhythm of his pace
Me: alternating loud ujaya breath with the aforementioned panting and wheezing, punctuated by Sherapovaesque groans.
Dad: wearing long pants and a long sleeved sweatshirt the entire way unless we start late and the sun is high.
Me: peeling off layers on the first hill, wiping sweat on one sleeve of my hoodie and snot on the other.
Dad: I assume he is being mentally productive, triangulating the errands he has to run later to be most efficient, solving difficult mathematical equations, sending out healing energy to the world.
Me: normally when I jog or walk I silently count steps, 1-2-3-4 as I breathe in, 1-2-3-4 as I breathe out, but trying to keep up with Dad on these hills the numbers don’t cut it, I still breathe on the same rhythm but in my head it goes like: mo-ther-fuck-er as I breathe in, mo-ther-fuck-er as I breathe out.
I forgot to mention earlier that Dad reduced his walking speed when I started joining him on these walks. If he went full turbo I’d lose sight of him in a few minutes.
Also that I’m super grateful to share these morning walks with him.