The vibration from my watch alarm told me it was time to get up but the sound of the drenching rain on the roof of our tent had me burrow further into my warm sleeping bag.
The quiet voice of the sweet, exhausted team-mate startled me through the sound of the persistent thunderstorm.
“Toby, it’s your turn. Get up.”
It’s 4 a.m.
The temperature is near 50 degrees.
And, a team of 7 friends are relying on me to run for the next hour in the middle of nowhere in south-central Florida.
Yes, it’s my turn to run my next leg of our Ragnar Trail Race – there was no snooze bar to push.
For those of you unfamiliar, a Ragnar is a race where teams of people run approximately 16 miles over the course of 24 to 30 hours while setting up camp in-between. The race’s slogan explains the concept well, “Run. Camp. Sleep. Repeat.”
I agreed to run the Ragnar when a member of my wife’s team was forced to bow-out and my inner #Dadlete spirit felt up to the challenge.
But, that same #Dadlete spirit that propelled me to sign up a few months earlier wasn’t with me in the tent tonight.
My legs ached, my 40 year-old ankles creaked and my blurry eyes were confused at the intentional lack of sleep.
As I tried to garner the strength to rise, I first thought, “What am I doing?”
Next, though, I thought about my family. About my wife that was out on the course running. I pictured telling my kids that I did it the next day when arriving home.
My inner #Dadlete re-emerged.
I pulled on my Russell Fusion Knit Fleece as I quietly moved toward the tent’s zipper-clasp entry way.
In a suddenly upbeat whisper, I responded to my as-tired team-mate, “Thanks, man. I’m up, I’m up. Let’s go.”
After daylight broke the following morning, we finished the course with no regard for our time and less regard for the eight sets of knees, ankles and legs that ached from the near 24 hours of beating they just took.
We were done, we were Ragnarians and I couldn’t wait to tell my kids all about it at home.
In these moments where I feel most like, what Russell Athletic has coined, a #Dadlete.
I’m a husband and father first – which, at times, works in direct opposition to being any sort of athlete. That said, my kids benefit from seeing parents that try hard to stay fit.
Sure, workouts have to give way to a sick 2 year-old or, especially at this time of year, to school celebrations and concerts. But, the sight of kids seeing their parents as athletes – albeit defined very loosely – is powerful.
I saw this firsthand when my wife and I got back home – my kids were fired up about our experience.
My oldest, Yosef, asked, “Was the trail all muddy, Dad?”
My daughter rightfully guessed, “Dad, I bet Mom beat you in the race!”
And, my 4 year-old, Everett, gave me a welcoming hug and said, “Wait, you ran on dirt?”
Yes, my legs still hurt.
Yes, I struggled to lift my 2 year-old daughter up for a kiss.
No, I didn’t feel much like an athlete despite having run 16 miles.
But, to my kids, I was.
That, to me, is being a #Dadlete.
And, I’ll take it.
More About the Russell Fusion Knit Fleece
As a Midwesterner, I pridefully shun the idea of being cold in the Florida “winter.”
I’ll be the first to tell you, though, that when the Florida temperatures reach sub-60 degrees, some type of gear is necessary for a jog or to chase the kids around the backyard. Russell provided me with their new Fusion Knit Fleece and I came away very impressed.
First, the look is great – the hood, the lightweight yet warm fabric and chest zipper pocket didn’t make me feel like I was wearing a frumpy blanket during a jog. The fleece’s fabric was stretchy, light weight and didn’t hang off of my shoulders after working up a good, sweaty lather.
Next, the price was right and selection of colors was plentiful. The Russell Fusion Knit Fleece is available at Wal-Mart and sells for under $20.
The combination of value, quality and style made the Russell Knit Fleece my choice for unleashing my #Dadlete by running 16 miles in the Florida “cold.”
How are you a #Dadlete?
***This post was sponsored by Russell Athletic, the opinions and anecdotes are my own.***