In late winter I started training for the half-marathon again. I even bought a new pair of shoes, my dear Asics Gel Kayano 16s. They don't make this shoe anymore (I think they're onto #18 or 19 by now), but I love the off-center lacing and excellent stability they provide. (No, this is not an official endorsement for Asics...but I wish it was ;)
A day after Dad's funeral, I was out on a long training run and it was the first time Daddy was really "with me" on a run. I talked to him and God a lot that day. Dad was never a big supporter of me running - because by the time I started training 2 years ago, his health was failing and he couldn't see why I was hurting myself just to cross something off my bucket list. "It ain't worth it," he told me the day before my first half-marathon. Not exactly a stirring motivational sports talk! In all fairness to Dad, he knew I was having some sharp knee and foot pain--so it didn't really make sense to run 13.2 miles !! But I did it anyway, and one of the big reasons I kept running (besides I was turning 40 that year) was because of our family friend Joe who was fighting Lou Gehrig's disease. He couldn't walk anymore, so the least I could do, I figured, was run this thing for him. I finished under my goal time in 2010.
In 2011, I got stronger and Dad got weaker. I trained again, this time not telling anyone that I was training. I didn't want to hear the "nay-sayers", and the only one I was running for was me. I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't a one-hit wonder...that it wasn't a fluke. That even though I am not an athletic person, I am a hard worker who sets goals and works her darndest to accomplish them. I had very few injuries/aches and pains in 2011 and finished in second place in my age group! One of the perks of being in the age-40 bracket!
In 2012, I ran because...well, just because. I like running. Plus I wanted to see if I could still train and accomplish this goal now that I was teaching full-time. (I say "was" because school's out now...and summer kid-running is in.) Then I hit a training obstacle. I missed a half-week of running because my dad died. It threw me off, physically and emotionally. Could I do this thing? The day after the funeral, I went on my first long training run with my dad. He was WITH me this time. I talked to him and God and asked them to give me some strength. My body was so tired, but it was also on auto-pilot. The training I had been doing paid off, as I ran the race with more smiles than tears, more energy than exhaustion. Mark and the kids got up early with me, once again, and cheered me on as I took off for the race.
We remembered the camera this time. Mark and the kids took this picture, I guess! Prairie du Chien sky, May 5, 2012.
Race day was cool at first, but really beautiful and quite comfortable. I wore Cy's MP3 player/headphones but never turned them on! I had plenty to pray and sing about, plus plenty of people to talk with along the way. (When talking was still an option, before mile 8 plus!!)
For all those people who can't run, I kept running.
For all those times when Dad had to stop and catch his breath, I kept running.
I tried really hard to cross the finish line with a smile. Linda, the race director who knows you by name, put a medal around my neck and hugged me. She knew I had run this one for Dad. She has been there. It was a great comfort.
I had my Personal Best time this year! 1 hour 52:53 seconds! Third place in my age division.
This one's for you, Dad! Thanks for running it with me. And yes, it was totally worth it!--Bing
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverancethe race marked o