It's always an adventure when my grandpa and I travel down to Pocatello, Idaho in July.

Just last Monday it was "that time of the year" again. "Howie" as I've affectionately called my grandpa Howard since childhood was set to race in the SE Idaho Senior Games. My grandpa played one of the largest roles in making me who I am today. Everything from my love for Seinfeld to outlooks on politics and relationships - Howie really shaped my outlook on the world.

My grandpa is a really likable guy that always finds a point of conversation with anyone. When we get to Pocatello, he and I stay at the Idaho State University dorm building.  It's always an experience and at 86 years old, it's like taking a quick road trip with my best friend.

I didn't realize until this year when we were talking on the drive down, but I have made this trip with my grandpa for 10 years now. When I was in junior high, Howie would come pick me up from my house to go for a two mile run at 4:45 a.m. (how did I even wake up at that time!?). I thought back to all of the years of he and I have made this drive to Pocatello and all of the traditions we've built.

We always stop at the McDonald's in Jerome and fill up on gas. We always stop at "The Upper Crust" in Burley to get lunch and a kiddie ice cream cone. It's these traditions I'll always cherish and was lucky enough to partake in for the 10th year in a row last week. We've been doing this for so long, there was a point in time that I didn't even have a drivers license when we would go down together--but some of the conversations I'll remember the most, for the rest of my life, have been with Howie on the drive to Pocatello.

Every year, he runs the 50 meter sprint, 100 meter sprint, and 4x100 meter relay. We weren't sure how the races would go over this year as he has been recovering from a muscle strain in his glute-but if these races didn't serve as a reminder persevere I don't know what would.

For the first time in 10 years, Howie had to lightly jog the 50 meter race and completely scratch (track terms for not run) the 100 meter race and relay. It was strange not watching multiple runs but pushing through the race that he did spoke volumes to me. My grandpa runs every morning all year long for THIS track meet and he wasn't going to NOT run. That in itself is a lesson in life for me--I strive to be half the man and half the athlete as my grandpa.


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