Dads who run: Meet Keith Lipinski...

This is the first of what I hope becomes a regular thing on cubicle dad runs. Working parents have a lot on their plate. And as a working dad, I think we sometimes get taken for granted. It’s tough to balance work, family and life in general. Now add in endurance sports? You’re upping the ante a bit. I thought it would be nice to highlight some Dads who run!

If you’re a dad who runs, and want to share your story, leave a comment below and we’ll talk! With that said, take it away Keith!

1. Introduction
I am Keith Lipinski, 37, an Information Technology (or IT as it’s commonly known) Manager at Paper Source in Chicago. I have a two year old son named Gavin, my beautiful wife Ryan is an administrative law judge for the State of Illinois. We reside in Park Ridge, IL at my mother in laws house which is quite helpful when it comes to both running and raising a kid. We are saving up to get a big down payment for a nice suburban home,  complete with ¼ mile running track in the backyard (note to realtors, the lack of track is a dealbreaker). In addition to running my hobbies include bartending, musical snobbery, professional wrestling (I hosted a online radio show for 7 years and have been involved behind the scenes as a writer, promoter, producer, DVD host, etc), and trying to be a fantastic dad while trying to get a minimum of 10 hours of sleep a night – hence the deliberating Starbucks addiction.

2. How long have you been a runner?
I would say I have been a runner for four years now. My earliest memories of running were the mile run when I was in grammar school – which is odd because I probably ran it wearing Toughskins brand “husky” jeans from Sears. I remember doing it in 8 minutes and remembering the faster kids doing it much quicker. In college I did a cardio training course which was all about running which I really liked. But it was about four years ago when I seriously took up running. One of my life goals/bucket list was always to run a marathon, I remember the first time I met my wife’s to be family and how impressed her younger sister Erin was that one day I would run a marathon. My upstairs neighbor encouraged me to start running and I signed up for my first Chicago Marathon in 2008. I ran it in 4:30+, the next year I did a sub 4. My primary reason for running is to deal with my issues with food and finding the best way to lose weight was running, now its not about losing weight (although that’s a glorious perk especially around marathon season) but also staying at the weight I am now.

3. What are your running goals?
My running goals have definitely changed since having a child. First off, I can’t do as many races as I would like due to not only the time factor but the price factor. My lovely wife, who is more money consciousness and much cuter than I, had me do a spreadsheet two years ago with all the races I wanted to do/already signed out for. She then had me put the price of each race on there, when you see the total number, you realize running races is quite the expensive hobby, even with a free t-shirt (note to race directors, no cotton shirts!). I believe I only do 6-10 races a year now. Being a father also means its harder to get longer runs in. I have taken Gavin out for some runs, but he doesn’t fall asleep and just wants me to
keep on going faster. Before it was about going fast and being out there as many times as I could during the week. Now, its about trying to get out there when I can and not get injured. I’m fortunate to get at least 20+ miles per week, usually my long runs on the weekend. Around marathon time, I do go out longer on the weekends but I find I can only do one marathon a year rather than multiple. Moving to the suburbs from the city has altered my running at night as there are much less streetlights in the burbs, thankfully I have found an area of my town which is well lit. My main running goal is to eventually qualify for Boston, but seriously that is a long way off and not realistic right now. If anything, having child makes you have more realistic goals and focus on a longer timeline. To me, running is fun and I believe my running philosophy has changed from having to PR, but just being happy to be able to run.

1. Have a good marathon time while having fun
2. Give it my best on every race – or come up with some awesome excuses.
3. Don’t get fucking injured stupid, pay attention (I have fallen twice this year due to some stupidity on my part)
4. Did I mention the having fun?
5. Run when you can, if you can.

4. When do you run? Do you schedule time or just go?
I have found the best way to run as a parent is run whenever you can. Realize you as a parent won’t be there for all the moments but hope you are for some. I thankfully haven’t missed any big milestones due to running, which I’m grateful for. For me, running when you can, usually translates to running after Gavin goes to bed, or early in the morning. I might spend a night eating dinner with Gavin and Ryan and then go out for a run. Gavin knows when he sees me wearing my Garmin watch and shoes that “da da runs” and he has shown interest in running, and sometimes will run back and forth with me on the sidewalk. I’m excited about getting him running shoes down the line and eventually doing races. I try to schedule running but at times it’s impossible due to sick kids, life events, etc. Right now, I’m lucky as I only have one child and have some spare time to run during his weekend naps. However, I realize this will happen less and less in the future as Gavin grows old and doesn’t nap and when we have a second/third child. I will always find a time to run somehow though.

Me the thumbs down during the 13.1 half marathon this past June.

5. Is it easy for you to balance everything? (i.e. work, family, running)
Balance is not easy, as it requires much planning while being able to adjust the planning when something comes up. Some things have to fall on the wayside, like tooth brushing and shaving. The good thing is I love spending time with my family as much as I love running, and I look good in a beard. A supportive family is also essential as my wife has been wonderful about this and Gavin again likes it when “da da runs.” I doubt I’d be the runner today without my family (yes, this is getting cheesy)

6. Or do you make running/ training a priority?
I try to make it a priority, but it’s hard. Sometimes, when I hear about those damn younger whippersnappers without families doing 20+ mile runs, running 1,000 races and can afford coaches because they don’t have to worry about the price of day care, diapers, or Thomas trains, I wonder what will happen in their future. To me running is a marathon, I’m not thinking about this year or race, or next, I’m thinking about when I’m in my 50s, and still running and when I’m 74 and finally qualify for Boston. There is a woman who seems to run every day by my office, I call her the “zombie runner.” She might be 70+ year old, but she’s out there running every day, looking like she might just fall down and die at any moment. That’s who I want to be, I want to be a zombie runner but with much better skin and no paramedics coming to see me asking if I’m ok. Regarding running, would it be great to qualify for Boston today? Absolutely. But at the same time, I have a long run (pun intended) ahead of me. Barring injury, I plan on running until I die. Gee, this is getting morbid.

Lets bring it back to something good, running is cool kids!

7. Do you share your story? (i.e. blogging, twitter, facebook)
I occasionally use twitter, facebook and daily mile to talk running. I would like to one day do a blog of “random thoughts while I run” or “songs I can sing while running a 8 minute mile” with youtube clips. Maybe someday when I have some time (translation: doubtful).

From the 2009 Chicago Marathon (3:57). I believe taking a moment to pose for this picture cost me a PR. It was worth it though.  He was only 2 months old at this time and as you can see was so excited by dads big race he quickly fell asleep.


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  • I'm a Dad who runs and Tris. My son is going to be 2 in December and he's the major reason I started running and trying to get in better shape/health. I do it hopefully set a good example for him someday.

  • Great freaking idea!!! I would love to participate!!

  • what a great idea! I can totally identify with the 'get the runs in when you can' scheduling philosophy!
    interested in hearing from a New England Dad?
    Keep up the great work, Dan and Keith!!!

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