Monday, September 19, 2011

A Daughter's Revenge

Throughout these posts, you will hear a lot about my wonderful Washington D.C. lobbyist daughter Ashley. For those who know me, this will hardly come as a surprise. As I mentioned before, she’s one of the reasons I’m doing this. In turn, she’s been my virtual training partner, cheerleader and coach.  
The training objective of this father-daughter 5K run is that I won’t completely embarrass her in front of her boyfriend, friends, colleagues, family and anyone else who shows up just to make fun of me. Ashley has been running competitively since elementary school, part of an evil plot by her mom and I to burn off all of her seemingly boundless energy and tire her out by nightfall.
It didn’t work.
She ended up a four-year all-conference runner at Toledo Christian, regional distance track qualifier throughout high school, and ran Division I track at American University. During this time, I made “that” promise to do a father-daughter 5K, thinking I’ll be dead and buried before she ever remembered it. I would have gotten away with it to if it wasn’t for darn Weight Watchers and dropping these pounds, taking away my primary excuse all of these years – I’m too fat. Well, I’m still that, but I’ve now loss enough where I could no longer use it as a crutch.
Ashley has seen a lot of sporting events, usually riding shotgun while I dragged her to trips through Mid-American Conference arenas when I covered Bowling Green for The Blade and seen a lot of very bad Minor League baseball when I covered the Toledo Mud Hens, among scores of other stuff from the pros to high school. I can only remember missing one of her numerous cross country meets from junior high through high school, screaming instructions and encouragement at her the whole time. There was one thing I didn’t expect – revenge!
I remember waking up in a cold sweat one night, thinking, “Do you think she will remember all of the things I yelled at her during cross country and track meets?
“Surely she won’t remember what I said to her after a girl passed her at the end of the Tiffin Carnival race where she could have won first place. Surely she won’t remember winning the Fostoria Invitational and me throwing cold water on it by bringing up her time. And surely she won’t remember what I said to her when she struggled to make it up the big hill her senior year during the TAAC championships at Maumee Bay State Park. Naw, of course not.  Go back to sleep Clyde. You’re in the clear.”
Last week or so, I remember saying something to Ashley about my workout. I can’t remember what, maybe it was not working out because of the rain or something else affecting my workout. What I did remember was her response.
“What? You would have NEVER let me get away with that when I was running cross country,” Ashley snarled (okay, maybe not quite a snarl, but you get the idea.) “You remember, don’t you?”
A stone cold chill came over my body. I was speechless for a moment, but I bounced back strong.
“Yeah, I remember,” I said barely above a whisper, playing the sympathy card to the hilt. “You . . . you won’t hold that against me will you?”
I got the response with a steady stream of emails to websites. The “Couch To 5K Run Workout” link came first. Then came the link to the Eating Healthy website, followed by the “Best Nutritional Bars” website. Hurt shin? There’s a website for that, too. Then she sent the registration site for the Turkey Trot. The underlying message from my daughter was clear: “Dad, I won’t let you punk out of this, so don’t even try. I got this 5K on lockdown!”
I’m grateful that Ashley is willing to coach me along. It will be interesting when she starts to channel her inner Bobby Knight again.


  1. Wow! You've done it now! You were always such a huge supporter and inspiration to me when I was running Cross Country and Track, so just take my websites and motivation, and refusal to accept excuses as payback for all those times when 1) I was "encouraged" to run 5Ks during the summer when all my friends were having fun 2) I was "encouraged" to run with the Lamar University Cross Country team at 5am in Beaumont TX, when it was already 100 degrees and I was only in junior high school, and 3) When you and my Mom would go get ice cream, hot dogs, etc. while I was running races, because, "hey, we have about 6 minutes before she makes it to the 1 mile mark anyway!" I'm thinking big here: The 5K is just the beginning. Next year we are going to run a 10K! Oh and don't forget, it will feel better when it stops hurting! Don't make me pull out The Matrix and start channeling my inner Clyde Hughes! In all seriousness, I’m very proud of you and you are actually inspiring me to keep running.

  2. Oh no! You even remember my Matrix motivational speeches, too? I'm in so much trouble now.

  3. You have to admit, that Lamar coach was trying hard to recruit you after working out with them.