First Marathonof my life, and I have it in my heart to give honor to one man. His name was Terry Teigen.
He was born in 1950, an only child. To me, he was always big, always strong, always dad. He is so much of who I have become. He loved me through my growing up years, provided for me, and set an example as a man who unabashedly loved and kissed and vebally told his wife, his children, his family regularly he loved them. I remember a regular goodnight hug included: "I love you with all my heart".
He was also a runner. One of my memories growing up was his running diligently. I remember going with him one time. What a great memory, he took our German Shepard, Nick with him a lot of the time. He was injured along the way and stopped running. But then I saw him who had to face his body that was so forgone in health that he needed to make drastic changes or face his own mortality.by 1995. He got out and began to run, and against odds changed his life, losing an amazing amount of weight and bought himself 9 more years. After 9 years after being so dedicated to changing his health, on a Monday morning, he had just finished his morning run, and went into the corner store to grab a paper. He was in the midst of chatting with the store clerk about his day off. He collapsed right there in his running gear. He passed away May 11, 2004.
It was a huge loss for me as a 30 year old man, who was just becoming more of a friend to his father at that stage in my life. The last 6 years has been to process this man's impact on my life, to incorporate him as a contributor to who I am becoming. The first thing I remember doing when I arrived home to gather with my grieving family: I put on my fathers shoes. They remained on for a long while, for a couple of years. I was a size nine, he a size 10; they were too big! I know, weird right? Something made me do it, I still have yet to articulate it. I think I was identifying with him, connecting with him deep down. people made fun of my shoes, I just felt great in them.
Three years later, I watched my own health slipping, my weight climbing alarmingly high, and I saw a flash of how it had been for my father. You can read some of my journey in my first few blog entries. He has been constantly on my mind as I run. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't find running so important or inspiring, nor would I see the reason why keeping healthy is important to a happy, longer life so clearly. Thanks dad! He taught me how to lovingly treat my wife, love on my kids and introduced me to a God who loves me.
I dedicate this marathon to my wife Pam and kids, Zachary Abby and Andrew! Pam thanks for being there at the finish line at my races, for being my life cheerleader always encouraging me to take chances and for loving me through all my idiocies. You are the love of my life.
This first one is in honor of my dad, I love you with all my heart.