Running a 5K with my 76-year-old grandfather and my beer-bellied dad

My family is amazing. During my entire health journey so far this year, they've been incredibly supportive. I can't tell you how many "I'm so proud of you" texts I've gotten from them since January, and I don't think I could have gotten this far without them.

The day I finished my first 10K race a few weeks ago, my Meme texted me saying my Poppy wished he had done the race with me. My Poppy is 76 years old, and I always joke that he's going to outlive the rest of our family, because he's in such incredible shape. He had a heart attack about 20 years ago, and it changed his life. He whipped himself into shape so that he could stick around a bit longer and give us a hard time about how often we change our oil or how to do our taxes. We're all incredibly grateful. He's a goofy, smart man who loves us all with everything he's got. 

Poppy, me and my dad at the Sunshine Run.

Poppy, me and my dad at the Sunshine Run.

So, because I can't let an elderly man outdo me, I decided I'd find us a 5K race we could run together (or, for Poppy, to walk at an extremely brisk pace for a man in his 70s) before it gets too hot. I signed us up for the Silicon Labs Sunshine Run 5K, which benefits the Austin Sunshine Camps, which are free week-long summer camps for low-income kids in Austin. Poppy was incredibly excited—and so was I—so I recruited our whole family to come along to participate or cheer us on.

To my surprise, my dad took me up on the offer. My beer-drinking, red-meat-loving 53-year-old dad. He signed up two weeks before the race, quit drinking beer completely and started walking two miles a day on the track at the middle school in my hometown. He even roped his girlfriend into it, too. We had a team of four Psenciks with nothing to lose, except maybe a couple of pounds.

When it came time to race, I was amazed. My family showed up at my apartment at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning (after I had worked until midnight the night before—yikes) rearing to go. Poppy, my dad, dad's girlfriend Cynthia and I started the race together, and Poppy and Dad even ran the first leg with me! Then I took off, looking to improve on my time from the Longhorn Run 5K two months ago, and I met them at the end. I finished in just over 30 minutes, a personal record for me—then 10 minutes later, here come Dad and Poppy. Jogging across the finish line! It was a day full of so much joy and laughter. My Meme told me it was the best day she's had in a really long time, and I agree.

I adore this man.

I adore this man.

Dad says he's going to keep walking. and despite my running struggles I mentioned a few weeks ago, I'm going to keep running too. We've never been one of those families that exercises together, that does turkey trots on Thanksgiving or coordinates group runs. We've always been more of the family that gathers around the dinner table or passes around Bud Lights in the backyard. But change is a good thing. And I'm so thankful to have a family that supports me and runs beside me and walks behind me every step of the way.