Day 23: 243.8lbs
Exercise: 3.5 miles this morning….really, really bad.
Nutrition: Meh, got into some microwave White Castle after running hill repeats yesterday. Not disappointed.
Attitude: Pretty pumped!

Our daughter has been exposed.

Andie has been raised with access to an environment that is different than many. She has seen things and picked up on things that many of us might take for granted or, even worse, never get to witness.

Yesterday, Amanda and I went running hill repeats with a group of our friends. We took Andie with us. I assumed that she would sprint way too fast up the hill a couple of times and then spend the rest of the hour laid out on a park bench trying to catch her breath and praying for air conditioning. That would have been fine- this is what kids do. As is often the case, I was wrong.

Andie, our 11-year daughter, was a killer. Up and down. Back and forth. A sip of Gatorade. Another trip. Another hill. She just kept going.

This was great. I was very proud of her and her endurance but the truth of the matter is that I don’t give a shit how athletic she is. I don’t really care if she likes fitness or sports or CrossFit or whatever. What made me so proud was her encouraging spirit.

You see, on every trip up and every trip down, Andie passed Amanda and myself with a nugget of encouragement:
“Good job”
{ Fist-bump }
“Nice work”
{ elbow knock }
“Keep going”
{ high-five }

Andie was the initiator. This was an eleven-year-old girl coaching me through the grind.

Andie has been exposed to this sort of behavior and therefore she mimics it. She has been at finish lines, has sat through marathons, she has participated in CrossFit classes, she has had coaches yell at her with elated encouragement and she has witnessed adults encourage other adults without mention of size, weight, color or fitness ability. Basically, she doesn’t know how else to act. I have so many people to thank for this. I simply couldn’t be more grateful for the community in which I interact.

What does it mean to one of my forty+ year old friends who are out there grinding in one-hundred-degree temperatures and trying desperately to maintain a degree of fitness to receive a “Good job” from an eleven-year-old, winded and red-faced little girl?

I don’t know.

What does it mean as a father to know that the friends that I interact with are the ones who taught our daughter to act the way that she does? What does it mean, personally, to know that her behavior is a result of the environment that I have been fortunate enough to have been welcomed?

It means everything. It means that I don’t have to get it all right if I surround myself with alright people. It means that even in spite of some of my worst behavior, my daughter gets to see the best in people.

Andie has no idea who was the fittest of the dozen or so people who were out there. She has not a clue who struggles with weight or who wishes they looked differently. She is not exposed to that because those people don’t focus on it. The only thing that Andie knew to do was to work hard and encourage others.

If Andie goes through the rest of her life and learns nothing else, I will have felt like I did my job to the best of my ability.

If you have ever wondered why I place so much value in the Lift Heavy Run Community, this is why. The time, the speed, the distance, and the weight are of such marginal importance when I think about the impact that this community has on the people exposed to it. The rippling effect is tangible.

Work hard and encourage others.

I have a lot of people to thank for instilling this not only in myself but also in our little girl.

Peace, love and all things Beef related,