In a mere 6 days I will be toeing the line of another marathon. When I’ve announced that I’ve registered for yet another marathon, only five weeks after my last I’ve received a myriad of responses. I’ve gotten quite a few sideways glances, perhaps even a few furrowed brows, and some blank stares. To be expected from those who don’t really know me. But I have to give these individuals the benefit of the doubt, because I don’t exactly wear my heart on my sleeve. But at the same time, no one has really asked me why I want to take on another marathon journey, what is the significance? What are my intentions exactly for this 26.2 pursuit? Well as always, I want to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I want to run an inaugural marathon. I want to smile. To breathe in life. To have fun. But above all, I want to celebrate Father’s Day by dedicating my miles to my father and all of those who are currently fighting, or who have lost their battles with cancer, just like I did when I took on Boston.
It is no secret that I miss my dad. I feel closest to him when I run. It’s when my best memories with him come back to me, playing like a movie reel inside my brain. I have to admit, sometimes a few days go by and I don’t think about him at all. Sometimes I fear I will forget him entirely one day. But as soon as my feet start pounding the pavement, all of my memories, even the sound of his voice, come rushing back into my mind. I don’t fully understand it, my explanation doesn’t quite do it justice. I just know that it’s real.
My dad was one of my biggest fans, rivaled only by my mom. She is going to be there in Canton, ringing her cowbell and cheering her face off, most likely making friends along the course like the perfect #1 fan that she is. I’m going to run this race for her too. She doesn’t have a Father’s Day cookout or party to attend either, as her father passed away a few years ago. What an interesting situation to share with a parent, both fatherless here on earth. She loves the thrill of marathon morning more than most, and if I can give her a few hours of fun and excitement to take her mind off of what could be a sad, downer of a day, I will.
In addition to Father’s Day, Monday marks what would have been my dad’s 65th Birthday. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate either occasion than participating in sport. My dad was a huge sportsman, and he fully understood the potential benefit that athletics could have on one’s life. Basketball was his game of choice that he played during his formative years. But he was a fantastic spectator of basically any form of athleticism during his entire life ranging from the swinging of his Terrible Towel for the Pittsburgh Steelers to choosing a horse to win the Triple Crown and everything in between. His love for all tests of the human body and spirit trickled down to the sheer enjoyment he experienced by watching all of my athletic endeavors.
So that is why I am lacing up my Nikes for a 26.2 mile tour of Canton. Not to score a BQ, or a shiny new PR. Of course those situations would be sweet, but honestly, it goes much deeper than that. I may break my own record or I may have the slowest marathon of my life. But I’m not going to allow myself to get sucked into allowing the time on the finish line clock to dictate whether I had a good day. No, not this time.
This marathon is all about life, the circle of life, revisiting memories and not shedding tears of sadness and mourning, but smiling because I was so blessed to have been raised by quite the dynamic duo. Half of that team may have left this world too soon, but what he left behind I am still discovering; through stories, sifting through memories, and uncovering aspects of my personality that I clearly inherited from him. The majority of these treasures have been uncovered while putting one foot in front of the other on the open road, and I can’t wait to explore my findings this Sunday in my favorite style of footrace.