special edition: health hero

TN_man-jogging-8RADear Dad,

When I was asked to nominate my Health Hero, you were top of my list. Your commitment to exercise and staying fit has helped shape my view of what it means to be healthy.

I may have been only 8 or so when you started running, but I remember cheering you on as you ran as many 10Ks as you could fit in a summer. When I hit my teens, you didn’t put me off when I asked if you would help me start a jogging routine. You gamely included an appearance-obsessed (I’m sure I never went running without full-on makeup and the apparel had to be stylin’) 16-year-old girl in your afternoon jogs and taught me that hills aren’t for walking. Though I’ll never win for speed, your lesson was about finishing what you start.

Running stuck and over 35 years later, I’m still pounding the pavement.

But you’ve taught me other things as well, adaptability being one. When told your running days were over, you didn’t chuck the fitness routine. Instead, you turned to swimming. Daily. And you still don’t miss a day. You’ll also climb any mountain or hill you find when you travel.

From you, dad, I learned the importance of moving. Building strength. Mixing activities up to keep the body healthy. Kicking it up a notch as a hill approaches instead of backing down. And that final sprint at the end. While neither of us will be qualifying for the Olympics anytime soon (or ever), you’ve taught me all I need to know about a lifetime of fitness and staying strong. Start moving, keep going.

I love you, dad, for this and so many other things. Thank you for being my Health Hero. With greatest admiration and respect, your daughter Beth*girl jogging in park


When asked to participate in the newly formed American Recall Center‘s Who Keeps You Healthy campaign, I considered the question of who I would name as my Health Hero. This post is my response. I encourage you to think on who your Health Hero might be and share in comments. It’s a fun and rewarding ponder.

*food for fun readers, here’s a bit of a secret: If you knew me pre-college, I will always be Beth to you.

47 thoughts on “special edition: health hero

  1. This is so sweet, Liz! I love it! Your dad sounds like a wonderful father, and I can tell how much he means to you. It is interesting to me that you used to be Beth! I had a time in elementary school when I was Andrea instead of Andi because kids teased me for having a boy’s name. I can’t remember when I changed back, but I’m glad I did πŸ™‚ What made you change?

    • Thanks, Andi. Wondering if I fell off your Follow list as it’s been a while since I’ve seen any of your posts 😦 Thanks for popping over. Love that we both went through “name changes.” When I left for college, I was intent on leaving the old life behind and starting over. Planned to never return home (which lasted until the first break when I had to go home and do laundry, haha) and would be a different person from then on. Beth became Liz. Though I love that I’m Beth to family and also old friends.

  2. How awesome – love that you shared a post about your dad (and the added bonus of knowing what your name is to family and old friends). Liz/Beth – either way, I think you’re very very very special. And clearly you got some of that awesomeness from your dad.

    • Thanks, Mimi. Funny how perceptions of our parents changes. Was definitely not aware of his “awesomeness” when I was 16, though he knew what he was doing when he hit the streets in his running shoes. I see lots of his quirks in me and am proud to be carrying them forward. Am sure my girls appreciate these qualities as much as I appreciated them in my dad when I was young, haha. They’ll get it eventually. You are very kind with your comments!

    • Thanks much, Mama! Yes, I think of how I relate to my kids compared to how my parents related to me. Much is the same. Have taken my oldest out running a few times and find myself pushing her like he pushed me. Figure she’ll appreciate it one day πŸ˜‰

      • I am sure she will. We enjoy our family hikes and the big boys have started mountain biking…as in just riding a flat dirt trail along streams to begin with. I see ER trips in our future!

  3. Great post! With so many kids who don’t even have dads in their lives, what a blessing for you to have one who could be such a great example in his determination and commitment. I hope he reads this; these words would be greater than gold to a father. BTW, I have to have Asics for jogging. Nothing else fits. You have a preference?

    • Thanks, Kerbey. My mom got wind of the post through deLizious facebook quickly enough and shared it with him. Your comment about “greater than gold” is much appreciated. He did indeed call and had lovely things to say. Good lesson for me to tell folks what they mean to me instead of just keeping it all in my head.

      Though sadly I did not appreciate him so much as a teen (Papa Don’t Preach and all). But I ran with him which is something.

      New Balance for me as they were the only ones with reinforcement on the front end. Now I shop shoes at a local shop that trains serious athletes, which is ironic as while I love to work out, I’m not that great at any of it. But I have good shoes πŸ™‚

  4. Your dad sounds amazing! What a great role model. My mom turned me on to running years ago, she started about 20 years ago to lose weight and continues to run at almost 70. My son comes to most of my races, and I’m looking forward to the day that he is old enough that we can do it together. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Love that you had a similar experience with your mom. And very cool that she’s still at it. My dad had to give it up because of his knees 😦

      Impressed that you run races. I do maybe one a summer (and only a 5K) and while it’s fun, I prefer going at my own pace. Just not fast enough, though I push with everything I have, then end up feeling not-so-great. Do you run many races?

      I’m hoping my girls join me on my runs, too. The oldest does sometimes and I hear myself pushing her just like my dad pushed me. Good thing?

      • I usually do at least one half marathon every year. I’ve keep thinking about trying for a full, but I’m not entirely convinced that human legs are meant for 4 hours of running! πŸ˜‰
        It’s so great that your daughter comes with you! I’m sure you don’t push her too hard. It’s hard enough to figure out how to fit exercise in your life, and if your role models don’t do it I think it’s doubly hard to convince yourself that it’s important. I think it’s particularly good for people like us (who loooove to eat!!). πŸ˜‰

        • agreed that working out is not optional when you love good food and drink! The tough part is realizing that the metabolism doesn’t burn so many calories as we age. Not sure how to deal yet. Keep going, I guess.

          • Agreed. I remember when I discovered that eating an ice cream a day to keep the doctor away (my motto in my twenties) wasn’t really doing me any favors in my thirties. After having a child, things became even more difficult. I can’t bear to cut anything out of my diet, so I rely on exercise and saving sugar for things that really count. My new motto is forget about perfection and focus on finding a happy medium between maintaining good health and enjoying life!

    • Thanks, Ada. Funny how we see our parents differently once adults ourselves. Wasn’t his biggest fan back then, though looking back I see he taught so many things using actions and how he lived rather than through lectures, etc. Should start thinking about using those techniques with my girls πŸ˜‰

  5. I love this post so much, getting a glimpse into another part of you and the sweet relationship between you and your dad. This post had to make such a huge impression on him! I love that he got you running and to this day, you are still lacing up your sneaks (I’m a Saucony girl, through and through) and pounding the pavement.
    Learning that you used to go as Beth is just fun! Someday there is a fun name conversation we will have, but I totally see you as Liz! πŸ™‚ Happy running my friend, and thank you for sharing such a neat story about the you who’s not in the kitchen!

    • Thank you, Bonnie πŸ™‚ You were with me when I wrote this as I thought back to the letters from your mom. Not entirely the same thing, but still a message from one generation to another. He was pleased by my words, yes, and it was doubly touching to me, then, to see how moved he was. He’s a quiet man and though he always has a lot to say (for sure where my talkiness comes from), he lives his life below the radar. So it was fun to sing his praises in a slightly more public way.

      Glad you were here with me for this one, Bonnie.

  6. Oh, this was just lovely. When I post off topic I end up sounding like a 16 year old, but you put together such a sweet tribute. You go Liz!!

    • Aw shucks, thanks amb. Hadn’t thought about this being “off topic” as it was an assignment of sorts that came my way. But you’re right–it may be fun, but it ain’t food! Glad to see it received well. Tribute to my dad AND my mom, who taught high school English and instilled in me a love of reading and writing. If you read my response to Bonnie’s comment above, you’ll see that my dad gave me the gift of gab, so they covered me pretty well πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks, Suzanne. He modeled the exercise thing very well, though only came to exercise as an adult (remember the ’80s jogging craze?). Just the same, a lifetime habit from then on. Lve how he’s passed it on to me as well. Hope to continue the train πŸ™‚

  7. Great post. It’s awesome you’re father was such a good role model. Running is such as excellent stress reliever as well. My longest run to date was about 8 miles. I’m hoping to hit half-marathon length soon.

    • Very cool on the half-marathon! (and 8 miles πŸ™‚ ) No idea how far I run, but am pokey so it can’t be a great distance. But calories burned, right? Thanks for coming by–great to have you here.

  8. This is very sweet Liz πŸ™‚ That is awesome you had such a great exercise and health model. I don’t know that I have someone that has been an exercise hero but my mother has definitely been my healthy food model!


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