On Saturday morning, I had a conversation with my dad that went beyond our usual Prairie Home Companion repertoire of “Yup.” “Okay.” “Glad you’re well.” As it often goes with Dad, I learned about some significant memory from his childhood that he’d never revealed before. In this particular call, he told me that he had memories from New Bedford, of sending his dad to sea and of a whaling museum he hoped to visit again. My grandfather was a Merchant Marine who was pretty absent when my dad was young, coming home just long enough to get my grandmother pregnant again and ship out.
As I ran through the course today, I tried to stay focused. I heard Norm, telling me to be focused at mile 9, to drop it at 12. I heard echos of my high school coach on the hill. More than usual, however, I heard my Dad, drawing me forward at 9 when I had a meltdown, felt his quiet support as I PRd. Like many daughters, the approval of my dad is a special thing. I will never forget his disappointment when I dropped out of a race in junior high. Some 15 years ago, and I still remember the message from our walk the next day: “You never, never give up, never quit, no matter how much it hurts.” I will never forget when he watched me win my first race as an adult, with his fist pump to the air and explanation to the person next to him that that was HIS daughter.
My dad would be proud of my race today. I ran smart, I ran hard. I’m proud of my race today. I stayed (mostly) focused. I ran even splits. I may limp through my recovery run tomorrow (and I will write a full race report tomorrow or Tuesday), but I head into the last two weeks before taper with significantly more confidence than before.