I am running in a race on Sunday. Its extra special for me for two reasons. One it is in honor of my father, as his b-day is on Nov.26th, and he loved to run. The other reason is, that I am doing this race with one of my best friends, my big brother.
He surprised me with coming to Orlando and signed us both up for this race to honor our father. It will be my first 10k, and it really helped to push me into my next step with running.
I no longer am running to live, I am now living to run. I think somewhere between the 4th and 6th mile, I settled into a "runner" status. I understand more of why my dad ran for so many years. It is no longer something I do to just stay in shape, it is my escape from everything else that is around me. Something really happens, as I get passed that 2nd mile, and I relax into my cadence that will carry me the rest of the way. Being outside, putting miles behind me, and looking forward to the finish. Feeling alive in that moment, when my whole body comes to life,and every nerve ending is awakened, whether its the aching in my left foot, the pounding of my heart, or my chest heaving, trying to catch my next breath, as I push through it all. In that moment, I feel so alive, and so aware of my own body.
This must have been the reason that my father endured so many miles on foot, gone through so many running shoes, and completed so many marathons. He must have known the secret that so few discover, because they stop or give up at the mile, that it would take them to get to the next level. Too few miles and you never experience the "runner's high", that so many talk about. Giving up too soon and you will miss possibilities, opportunities, and experiences that you can only gain through running.
My father must have known, that in order to really live, you will have to experience pain, exhaustion, exhilaration,and liberation. Being a runner means blisters, cramps, scraps and bruises along the journey, it is inevitable. My father was not a spectator, he was in the race. He lived his life like a run, mapping out his course, planning his race, getting sidetracked at times and even lost. But, he kept moving forward, sometimes slow and steady keeping the pace, and sometimes in a sprint. He lead the pack, and at times rested in the middle.He ran hard, he ran fast, he ran with dedication and perseverance. He finished his race.He finished it well.
This Sunday, I will run for my father,I will run on purpose,for a purpose. This Sunday, I become a "runner", I will follow in my father's footsteps, his legacy will live in me and through me.