by Anne Stancil with Austin, Brooke, and Sydney Lenhart
One of the best things about running is that it can be enjoyable as both a solitary and social activity. It’s especially enjoyable when families can share the benefits of running together. In celebration of Father’s Day, we want to share this Training Tale from Austin, Brooke, and Sydney Lenhart, who currently run with our Summer Sweathogs training group.
Running has always been an important part of Austin’s life. He’s been running on and off for the past 36 years; taking a break during college and then recently taking an unwanted break from late 2010 to early 2015. Austin just recently started running again, joining the Fleet Feet’s Summer Sweathogs in hopes of getting back to his 2010 running levels.
One of most important motivations for Austin is the relationship he has with his daughters. During their younger years many of the Lenhart family vacations revolved around a running event. The girls would cheer on their dad then run the last few 100 feet or so with him. In an effort to keep Dad motivated, they started their own family running club. Austin remembers, “they called it the Fuzzy Bunny Track Club. That was in 2008. Since then they have either been running with me or always pushing me to get back into it. It has truly been a highlight to see how much they enjoy the sport.”
When asked what he has learned about running from his daughters, Austin explains, “To not give up on what you as an individual enjoy. During those times where running has taken a back seat, my daughters have always asked me to make the time, always pushing me directly and indirectly to continue to run. My middle daughter in Maryland started the Tiger Running club as a means to get me to go and run after work. She even generated an application to the club and mailed it to me… Of course I joined and she ran with me when I could. And every run I did she would put a tiger stripe on this tiger picture (initially no stripes), telling me that the goal was to get as many stripes on the tiger.. It was a great gesture and fantastic Dad/Daughter bonding time.”
Austin’s daughters Sydney and Brooke have learned some important lessons from their dad as well: “He’s taught us to run on dirt because it’s easier on our joints. When running up hills use high knees and when going down hills, let it go and allow gravity to do most of the work. And when you run keep your hands loose and relaxed. And after a big run drink chocolate milk when done and to open you lungs by putting you hands on you head.”
Austin also does a great job motivating his daughters. When Saturday morning rolls around, Austin shares his enthusiasm during their early wake-up call: “To get us going, he makes us do the Sweat Hogs chant loud and proud, 'SWEAT HOGS! SWEAT HOGS! *snort! sort!* SWEAT HOGS!'- I think he made that chant up though. By the start of the run we are all awake and by the end we are glad that we woke up. It has been much fun running and everything that surrounds the run.”
One of running’s gifts to Austin is it allows him to spend time with his daughters and be healthy as well: “My family is the most important thing to me. An spending time with my daughters has, and always will be the number one priority. I continue to live with no regrets by running with my daughters and the byproduct of this running is that maybe it will extend my life a little longer.”
Austin, Brooke, and Sydney, we are so glad you include Fleet Feet in your family’s running traditions! Happy Father’s Day!