For different people, running can mean different things. It’s exercise. It’s training. It’s therapeutic. It’s a time to think while taking in your surroundings. It’s brutal. Running to me is all those things.
Much of my adult life has been spent running. On smelly, crowded streets, winding, rural back roads, city highways and rugged dirt paths.
I’ve run to prepare for races like the Boston and New York City Marathons. I’ve run because I need to clear or fill my head with thoughts and ideas. I’ve run because I had no workout plans and just needed to break a sweat.
Last week we took a family vacation with our best friends to Nosara, Costa Rica. An absolutely beautiful surfer town on the Pacific side of the country. Before the kids woke up, I’d run down the dirt road straight to the beach, take my shoes off and just go without anything in my way. Something a New Yorker can truly appreciate.
On the second to last day of the trip, I strapped my 17 month old son, Ozzie in the stroller, grabbed some towels, water, snacks (can’t leave home without ‘em) and hit the dirt road. Three and a half years as a parent and I’d never gone on a run with either of my kids. I’ve always looked at working out as my alone time. Dad time.
Pushing the jogging stroller with no headphones on and singing random, made-up songs to keep him entertained felt totally different than a typical run. I loved it, and so did he.
The longer we went and the happier Ozzie got, the more I kept thinking about Rick & Dick Hoyt of the infamous, Team Hoyt. I remember reading an article about them, and the son saying that when he’s being pushed by his dad, he doesn’t feel disabled. I also remember seeing them cross the Boston Marathon finish line in 2003 and instantly being motivated to run that race the following year.
On the first week of the new year, watching the crashing waves while getting whipped by the ocean breeze, I couldn’t help but feel lucky. Lucky to be in Costa Rica with my family and friends. Lucky for unforgettable moments with my son. Lucky that inspiring people like Rick and Dick Hoyt exist who drive me to be the best person and Dad I can be.
Sometimes feeling lucky can mean more than just sitting at a roulette table or winning the Powerball - it’s also about appreciating the littlest things in life and embracing them to the fullest. So do I feel lucky when my daily 5:37 am alarm goes off? …not necessarily in the moment, but I will when I hit the crowded, smelly NYC streets and be able to close my eyes and imagine the Costa Rican ocean breeze with Ozzie smiling ear to ear.