Last evening, I did something that I wasn’t quite sure I’d ever do again.
It may seem simple… RUNNING a race with my daughter, Jane…
But running a race again with my beautiful daughter was 2 years in-the-making.
Jane’s running goes way back. Back to high school, when she switched from 10 years of competitive swimming to this new thing she wanted to try – Cross Country Running.
Barry and I were shocked at this complete change of sports, but I must say (and I’ll pat ourselves on our backs, here!), supportive. Jane ran with her high school team, coming in close to last place at every early meet. Then during the middle of the season, she began to come in somewhere in the middle of the hunt. By the last couple of meets, Jane was #3, 4 or 5 to finish.
Jane was loving her new sport. She was happy, thriving, competing, smiling, happy happy happy.
At the last meet of the year, on a stormy, drenching Fall New England day, at the Southeastern New England Cross Country Championship, Jane came in 1st place.
I’ve never seen Jane cry at the end of any sporting event, before that day or after. That day, she wrapped herself in Barry’s arms and cried with joy. Joy in accomplishing something so remarkable. So unthinkable.
Jane was hooked on running.
I would watch and admire from afar as Jane took on half marathons, marathons, qualification for Boston Marathon. She did. Qualify for Boston, that is. Twice.
Then, one day almost 4 years ago, I put on a pair of Jane’s cast-off running shoes and began running. 1 mile. 2 miles. That first 5K. And all the way up to a marathon.
But my kind of quiet dream was to run with Jane. Alongside Jane. Keeping company with my wonderful daughter in something challenging… something we both loved to do.
That would happen 2 years ago, while we were both training for a Half Ironman. Jane and her fiance Brian belong to a running club here in Rhode Island called the Red Rooster Ramble… each Thursday evening at 6:30, year round, there’s a 5-mile run. Jane and Brian had been encouraging me to join the Ramble, but I was intimidated by the caliber of runners and what I perceived to be the camaraderie of the members.
But one night in July of ’10, I said what-the-heck and decided to go for it. Jane sensed my tentativeness. And she ran with me. 5 miles. Talking. Laughing. Loving. My dream come true.
Jane had all the equipment to monitor our pace, miles and all that good stuff. At the first mile, we had done a high 8-minute pace. I was shocked. I had never run that fast. I didn’t know I could.
I felt incredible. Like a Runner’s High, except with Lots of Love, too!
Jane coaxed and talked and encouraged and laughed and helped me finish in a 45-minute time. I couldn’t believe the clock!
Then, because of life and injuries (Jane wasn’t able to run for a year and a half), that one 5-miler was our run. Jane wasn’t sure if she’d ever run again. Physicians. Therapists. Differing opinions. On and on and on.
Three weeks ago, Jane and I set about running together 3 mornings a week. Slow. S-L-O-W-L-Y. Making sure Jane’s foot wasn’t getting messed up. Inching along. Walking fast, sometimes. Running. Building our pace.
Working up our miles. Talking. Laughing. Smiling. Loving being together.
Then Jane asked if I wanted to run the Ramble. Last night would be our first race together in 2 years.
Back where we started.
And we did…
Jane paced me, but I knew I was running faster than usual. When our miles kept coming up in the high-9’s, I was shocked at my pace. I’m a high 10, low 11, even 12-minute miler.
I wasn’t backing down.
We came running into the finish with Brian cheering from behind and Barry cheering from in front of us…
I love running!
I love my Janie more than life itself!
But combined? A Runner’s High like no other.
Thank you, my beautiful daughter, for letting me run along for the ride!