My Running Buddy
When I was 15 I watched my dad complete the Marine Corps Marathon. I still remember, it was a warm day and there’s a steep hill for the last .2 that was torture for a lot of runners. As I was waiting for him to pass by us, there was a man on a trike. He was really struggling. As he grit his teeth and tried to get up the hill, a few runners came from behind and helped push him up the hill. I turned to my mom and said- one day I’m going to run a marathon.
When I was 17 I ran my first half marathon. By this time my dad had become my running partner, even though he ran faster than me and could always be found waiting for me at the finish line. I loved that it was our thing. We would wake up early and race and then we’d share funny stories on the way home. There was a point during training for my first half where I wasn’t sure I could do it. I was ready to give in, and dad was going to let me… Until we told our plan to my mom- who said absolutely not. She kicked me out of the house one Saturday morningand told me not to come home until I had completed my 10 mile training run. That was my first long run. I’ll never forget the smile of completion that I held onto for days after that.
When I was 27 I decided it was time to train for my first marathon. I signed up for the Philadelphia Marathon, being that most of my family is from there, and I’m a diehard eagles fan. In March of that year my dad got some news that he’d have to have surgery on his foot. The night before his surgery I suggested we go for a run together, just in case. He fought me for a few minutes before finally giving in and jogging a quick 3 with me. When we finished, we touched the stop sign at the end of the street and thought nothing more of it. That was my final run with my dad. The next day he was told no more running.
Crossing the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon there was one face I wanted to see more than anything- my dad. I can still picture him smiling and fist pumping, cheering me on. As I crossed the finish line he was the first to run up and hug me.. and then immediately ask me to grab him a philly soft pretzel from the free food selection. My dad helped shape me into the person I am today, into the runner I am today. There’s a special bond between daughters and their dads. I just happen to have the best one.