Friday, February 1, 2013

Dad of the Century

Some of you may remember back in Spring 2011 when I was at least 175 lbs (likely more).  Thanks to a friend that was having health issues and needed to lose weight, I decided to journey with her as a support.  I was NOT excited to cut out all sugar and seek a healthier way of life, but I did it anyway.  Within weeks I started to see a difference.
(April 2011 - not so small)

By Spring 2012 (at least 35 lbs lighter) Jake and I were asked to be Ma and Pa at Trek for Youth Conference.  I had lost some weight, but next was to get into shape.  Once school ended, a great friend of mine and I began walking daily.  By the end of summer we were up to 4.5 miles in an hour.  Not bad!
(July 2012 - quite a bit smaller)

Now as we're entering Spring 2013, I'm on a new quest.  With the support of awesome friends, a group of us have entered the Rugged Maniac 5K Obstacle Race.  It will be my first race.  I'm not planning to run for a  fast time or to beat my friends.  I'm planning to have a good time with the girls as we relish in the fact that we can actually DO the race.  In the meantime, a few of us are working daily to prepare ourselves for what is to come.

Despite all of these changes I've made in my life, it's still hard for me to do a little 5K.  I can't even imagine how hard it must have been for this dad in the beginning.  He and his son are such inspirations to me on what love really is.  
You will cry when you read this article, so have a tissue or shirt sleeve handy!

Strongest Dad in the World by Rick Reilly 

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.

But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he's pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he's not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars – all in the same day.

Dick's also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much – except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

"He'll be a vegetable the rest of his life," Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. "Put him in an institution."

But the Hoyts weren't buying it. They noticed the way Rick's eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. "No way," Dick says he was told. "There's nothing going on in his brain."

"Tell him a joke," Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? "Go Bruins!" And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, "Dad, I want to do that."

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described "porker" who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. "Then it was me who was handicapped," Dick says. "I was sore for two weeks."

That day changed Rick's life. "Dad," he typed, "when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!"

And that sentence changed Dick's life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

"No way," Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren't quite a single runner, and they weren't quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway. Then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, "Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?"

How's a guy who never learned to swim and hadn't ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they've done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don't you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you'd do on your own? "No way," he says. Dick does it purely for "the awesome feeling" he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992 – only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don't keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

"No question about it," Rick types. "My dad is the Father of the Century."

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. "If you hadn't been in such great shape," one doctor told him, "you probably would've died 15 years ago."

So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other's life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father's Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy. "The thing I'd most like," Rick types, "is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once."

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE...Getting back up is LIVING...Have a great life. And if you liked this post , PLEASE SHARE AND LIKE THIS PAGE and continue to be inspired with sayings that lift us and jokes to laugh at. Much love to you all, J.J. Cohen


Life Happens said...

You look FABULOUS!! So impressed. I want to be like you when I grow up :) I need the motivation!

I love that story about the father and his son. I cried when I first read it. What an amazing father.

Shanan said...

I was nearly sobbing when I read it. It has helped to motivate me even more. We can be heroes for our children in so many ways. One way I want to be a hero is to be able to "play" with and do active things with my boys!!!