Posts Tagged ‘Running’

Happy 59th Birthday Dad RIP

Posted: March 19, 2013 by Keith Townsend in Lessons from dad
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My Dad

My Dad

Today my dad would have turned 59.  He died 4 years ago of complications from diabetes of all things.  He had a great deal wrong physically but in the end it was a heart attack attributed to diabetes.  Today, I honored his memory by running 13.5 miles.  It’s the furthest and longest time I’ve ever run.  My dad had a saying he would tell me and my brothers ALL the time, “Your body may give out but don’t ever give up.”  That saying had driven me and my brothers for years.  We basically just know one speed and that’s “hard.”  We may not have been the brightest, fastest, strongest or most talented but there were very few people that could out work us.

This is always an emotional time of year for me.  Not only is it my dad’s birthday but 10 years ago my little brother reached the apex of college sports by being a major part of the Marquette team that went to the Final Four.  My brother started all 33 games that year.  His work ethic reminded me of the lessons my dad would teach us about being physically tough.  I’d like to think when the picture below was taken after they beat #1 Kentucky to reach the Final Four he thought of those words.

Todd Townsend

Todd Townsend

To this day we just don’t know how to turn that voice off in our heads.  It drives all of us as fathers, husbands and employees.  The fact that my dad died of diabetes and I’m inflicted with the very same decease forces me to work harder on my physical fitness than almost any other area of my life.  That’s why I ran 13.5 miles in his honor.  I’ve always had this goal in my mind.  A few years ago, I came pretty close to it but came up lame at about 11 miles.  I actually didn’t set out to run over 13 miles when I started but as I got to thinking about my dad I just physically couldn’t stop running.  All I could think about were the cold winters in Chicago when my dad had us in the alley helping to change engines and transmissions to help make ends meet.  I wanted nothing more than to go in the house.  But then he’d say, “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up.”

I remember him teaching me how to lift weights and just after a few reps I’d want to sit the weights back on the rack and go and relax and then he’d say, “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up.”

I remember in high school waiting to the last minute to write that computer program for the science fair and falling asleep at the keyboard and he’d peek into my room and say, “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

I remember coming to him as an adult and telling him how tired I’d become from working 2 jobs trying to support my family. “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

College as an adult and work – “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

Getting diagnosed with diabetes – “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

That 10th mile of running tonight – “Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

Me in tears at the 11th mile –“Keith, your body may give out but don’t ever give up!”

My whole life, I’ve heard these words.  I may not always be able to push my body past the limits but I know the speed at which my dad lived his life and how me and my brother go. – Hard!

Me and My Brothers

Me and My Brothers

Happy birthday Dad, we love and miss you dude.

Winner’s win and losers have really great excuses

Posted: January 30, 2013 by Keith Townsend in Uncategorized

As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of my 2013 goals is to run 1500 miles.  I’m starting to understand how difficult of a goal it will be to achieve.  On average, I’d have to run 125 miles a month.  That’s a pretty big number for me.  My best running month is 100 miles so, I’d have to average better than my best.

Today, I’m in Atlanta, GA for work.  I’ve been putting in crazy hours and got in late last night.  I awoke an hour later than I usually do and decided not to go for a run because I would be late to my client site.  This is completely reasonable.  Then I remembered that I’d work late again tonight and I wouldn’t have time for a run.  So, I got up, got dressed to go running and hit the door and wouldn’t you know it that some pretty ominous clouds are out.


I turned back around and was headed back to my hotel room to get dressed and be on time for my client engagement.  Then one of my favorite personal sayings hit me, “Winners win and losers have really great reasons why they don’t.”  It would have been understandable and acceptable for me to continue to get dressed for work but that’s honestly taking the easy way out.  We love stories of people who against all odds achieve incredible things in life.  They achieve these incredible things in part because they make sacrifices many of us would deem unacceptable and I dare to say most of us would agree with the reasons why they should have gave up.  This is why we call them heroes.  They are willing to do the hard things we wouldn’t.

I turned back around went outside and ran one of my slower 5 miles.  But no matter the pace I’m 5 miles closer to my goal of 1500.

Winners win while losers have great excuses for why they didn’t win.


Your body may give out but don’t ever give up!

Posted: January 28, 2013 by Keith Townsend in Lessons from dad
Tags: ,

I was running outside in Chicago in 20 degree weather and it reminded me of my dad. Just after a few minutes there was nothing more I wanted to do but stop, go in the house and warm up. But, all I could see in my mind was my dad saying, “Son, your body may give out on you, but don’t ever give up!” I ran for about an hour and a half and had gone better than 7 1/2 miles. My dad passed away about 3 years ago but I remember these words as if they were spoken just yesterday.

My dad was as physically tough as they get. He was an alley mechanic by trade, not only was he the strongest man I knew he was the toughest one as well. He would have me, my older brother and my younger brothers (when they were old enough) come out to the alley and help him work on cars. The problem was that Chicago get’s cold. If you’ve never experienced 20 degree whether with a wind chill then you don’t know what it’s like to work in the cold. Then try using metal tools to twist bolts in that weather. I hated everything about it. My hands would sting, my toes would go numb and my face would hurt.

He would routinely scold me about being too soft using this phrase. After about 20 minutes of helping him, I’d wanted to stop go in the house warm up to some hot tea and food. I really didn’t understand that the hard work that my dad was trying to get me to do provided the hot tea and warm home. I just wanted the comfort.

I pursued a career in technology so that I would never have to do what my dad did to provide food and shelter for my family. But the impact was made and I can’t do anything to change it. My wife often complains that I put myself in unneeded physical strain. I’m sure if you asked my sister-in-laws and my soon to be sister in-laws they’d say my brothers are the same. In order to fight off diabetes and continue to provide for my family I have to run. Diabetes doesn’t care if it’s 20 degrees outside or if I had a hard day at work. It doesn’t care that my feet hurt, or that I have some deadline at work. It wants very much to kill me and stop me from providing for my family. I understand my dad now.

I guess I wish down deep I was as tough as the old man.

I run to make my dad proud!