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Dad on the Run, Phil Padilla

Dad on the Run, Phil Padilla

When I first met Phil Padilla he explained to me that he no longer had time for “garbage miles.” This was a compelling statement and said without any ego, it was just about time management. He was one month into being a father for the second time and every mile run was a mile carefully planned to fit between all of his other life commitments – father, designer, brother, runner - so he had to make each mile count.

“Tell me about these garbage miles? Are you still there?” I ask a year later.

Phil laughs, “It’s more just trying to figure out what the purpose of each run is and really focusing on that. I definitely don’t have time right now for any long slow runs.”

I catch Phil during an unexpected lull, a time when both work and family are settled enough for him to sneak out for a beer. We are at his go-to, the Goose Hollow Inn, the bartenders are all female, they’re playing reggae, he’s somehow pulling off a thick mustache, it’s a pretty good set to talk about fatherhood and running.

“Most of my runs right now are between 6-8 miles a day, no slower than 6:30 pace. For quality work, I go down to 5:30 pace. I think if I had time I would do longer runs at 7:30 pace which I think I would benefit from, but right now with my schedule between work and family its kind of like a 6 mile run at 6:30 pace is my relative version of easy miles.”

Phil says this all thoughtfully; he seriously looks like he wishes he could run some 7:30 miles. It’s our first time really sitting down together and I’m kind of shocked at just how wistful he looks at slow miles, which are pretty much all I run right now. I’d gladly swap with him. Phil is an apparel designer at Columbia Sportswear, a runner with VAMIPACT, and a doting father. Oh yes, Phil is fast. And if you enjoy design his Instagram is one of our absolute favorites.

Did I mention that Phil is fast? Phil is fast. He came out to our Slabtown Mile in November dropped a quick little 4:33, claimed his sock prize and hung out for all of 15 minutes before he had to apologetically head home for family time.

Phil’s children are Luna, age 4, and Ray, who is a year and a half.

“Me and my wife both like outer space. Luna is Spanish for moon, my dad is from Ecuador, Ozzie Padilla.” So cool names clearly run in the family. Ray is a family name.

“Those classy older names are trending again, simple names like Jack or James. Ray is short for Raymond, his middle name is Mars. My wife wanted to go with Mars first, I was like that’s a little too much.”

Phil laughs and explains that his daughter is randomly obsessed with the moon and stars. Maybe names do matter? We change pace to talk about running.

Phil jumps into the story, knowing he wanted to run in high school, doing captain’s practices the summer before freshman year, running cross country, indoor and outdoor track. It’s a familiar routine. We get distracted talking about East Coast track meets, running at what was called the Armory in NYC, some of our favorite races, the importance of a good coach.

“And your brother ran too? He’s your twin?”

“Oh yea, identical twin brother.”

This is when I start to realize just how identical they are. Phil and Chris both ran track in high school. Then they both went to Virginia Tech and continued to run track in college. They were on the same relay team, the 4 x 800. They both started to study industrial design and then somewhere between sophomore and junior year realized how sports fit into that and started drawing sneakers. They did an internship, both of them, with New Balance in Boston the summer between junior and senior year. Then it was time for the job hunt.

“My brother happened to get an interview with Adidas before we graduated college. He came out to visit and said Portland was cool. We’re really close and we didn’t want to separate at that point either. I ended up finding an internship at Columbia so I applied to that. We moved out here within a month of each other, it will be 9 years exactly this month.”

As someone who is not a twin and who lives on the opposite side of the country as my sister (though between text and Facetime we’ve already had three conversations today), I am pretty floored that they have literally done everything together for their whole lives and still are doing that.

Chris just became a father too. He is fifteen minutes older and he just had a little boy, Cruz.

“According to our initial plan we wouldn’t have started having kids until now,” Phil laughs talking about his family. “In 2014 we were in our late twenties, 26 or 27 maybe. But we wanted to be young parents and not try to wait too long. There’s always going to be something that’s not perfectly ready, whether it’s a house or a job thing, we just wanted to get it moving.”

Were you ready to be a parent?

“I think so. Yea…” Phil laughs and then explains more confidently, “Besides me and my twin we have three older siblings who are mid-forties right now and one had kids when we were in college. So we were seeing them having kids and interacting with them, so being around kids and stuff was a natural thing.”

“What was the most shocking thing about having a kid?”

There is zero hesitation in this answer.

“The sleep schedule.”

Phil laughs and remembers the time right before his daughter was born. “I was getting into decent running shape around that time, it was Shamrock and track season. She was born in April. We were in the hospital for three days and I remember trying to do a run and I felt so drained. I was in decent shape but I was so sleep deprived that I just couldn’t hold a normal pace.”

“I think that’s the most shocking thing for any parents. You go home and there’s this little creature that you have to nurture and it’s insane that they depend on you for everything. You have to figure out what’s right, what’s wrong and get into a little family groove. It's definitely tough.”

What’s your favorite thing?

“I would say it is when they get to the age they are at now. It's funny seeing my daughter right now – she’s in preschool, she’s starting to talk a lot and have her own thoughts and this little personality. I see her personality start to grow. You see something of you in them, something of your wife in them, and then there’s stuff that’s neither of you. It’s like where did they get that from?”

“My son right is starting to walk and say words. He’s still very much a baby but he’s a little person too. Also, when you have two kids, seeing them have fun together, laughing and joking and making each other laugh, I love that.”

How is Luna with Ray?

“She was really good, the first year she was super good. Now that’s he is more interactive and can walk around and pick up whatever he wants there’s a little more confrontation. It has definitely been a little more hectic around the house. It can be some random toy that they never saw all day, but he’ll go grab it and all of a sudden it’s the hottest item in the house.”

I start asking about a joke I heard him make about running with a stroller, a gift from a friend and fellow VAMIPACT runner Matt Saunders

“I already put so many miles on that thing!”

Wait, at 6:30 pace?!

“Not that fast but yea…having kids and running is great. It gives my wife a break and I can get miles in and take one kid at least. And both the kids love it. Whoever is in there is super entertained by it. So we go out and I’m usually doing 3-4 miles on the road with them. I’ve had it for like 4 years it’s one of my best investments as a parent. We take that thing everywhere, to the beach, on all the road trips we go on, it’s really nice.”

I asked Phil if it was worth giving a shout out and it was: Bob Strollers, folks.

Let's talk about design for a moment, can you tell us about that?

“In high school I took every art class I could possibly take, mixed media, pottery, basic art classes, intro to art and I also took a random computer class that was based around using software to plan out a model house.”

Phil found industrial design through the suggestion of an older brother and both he and Chris found it to be the perfect blend of both drawing and building. Virginia Tech had industrial design and a running team that was a good fit.

Oh, and all that cool KITH stuff that came out earlier this year. Well, let's just say we noticed our friend Phil here happened to be in Aspen when all of that was launching. Coincidence? We think not. 

So any parenting advice?

“There’s that one saying, the nights are long, the days are short but the years fly by. It’s so weird its like that. There are so many arduous tasks when you’re in it and you almost want it to pass but you don’t. We look at albums from last year and the kids just look like babies and they’re not anymore. Even the first 6 months of that first year, everything they learn is insane.

“You are training this little human to get a sleep cycle. My advice is just take it one day and one week at a time. Figure out what works for your family and set up and your little family group.

“For us we are trying to make it a goal to get out and do more with the kids. The tendency is to stay in, because it does take a lot. You can’t just get up and go. You have to stop a lot, plan more, figure it out. But don’t let that stop you. Even a trip to the coast takes a lot more planning but its definitely worth it.”


Do you think they will be runners?

“I wouldn’t force it. I think Luna might be just based on the way she grown so far. She’s very tall and very lean for her age group, and she’s just hyperactive so I could definitely see her running. Ray is tall, he’s the 98th percentile for his weight. Me and my brother were bigger kids in pictures too, so I can’t tell yet.”

“I’d like it for them socially. For us growing up in high school, its your automatic friend zone. You’re making super good bonds and that’s the kind of thing that helps when I think about my kids going to middle school and high school. It would be nice to give them a community centered around running, that would be really great. The running thing has grown. Its like almost cool to be part of that.”

We laugh, running was definitely not the cool kid sport in either of our high schools. We talk about balancing the intensity of training and family, about trail vs road, and Phil moving up in distance to run his first half this year in Eugene. I ask about his favorite workouts.

“I don’t have a coach but I’ve been able to figure out what works for me between high school and college workouts. In high school, hill workouts were the thing we reaped a lot of benefits from. In college, it was more steady reps tempo runs. I know how to incorporate those now. I’ve found that my sweet spot for weekly mileage is in the high 30s.”

Phil’s friend Matt has a baby now too. At the recent 1 x 100 mile American record set by 100 runners at the Duniway track, his child was at the track. Between Matt, Phil and Chris, they’re pretty excited for when they can be three abreast as dads with running strollers. Maybe we can have that for you next father’s day.

Big thank you to Amiri Rose, Phil Padilla and Fasil Debeb for being awesome dads and letting us delve into their lives for Father’s Day 2018.

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