I know, I know, I have problems in my brain.
Actually, the reason I am doing this for the second time is because I run with my dad, and have done so for many years. It's a perfect partnership because I'm kind of slow and he's sort of old (notreallysorrydad). Anyway...
We'd run several marathons together, but last year Dad and I signed up for the Calgary Marathon's 50th Anniversary 50km ultra marathon. Training was a disaster. An injury/flu/pneumonia trifecta sidelined me for two months, and by the time I was a functioning human being again, the race was only a few weeks away. To sum up, let me say this...
I should not have been able to finish that race. But I did.
My dad didn't.
He had a cold and a sinus infection. He pushed as hard as he could, but that day he just didn't have it. He had to drop out. I kept going, albeit with a giant crack in my heart. If you're thinking this is an exaggeration, I assure you it's not. When you've dedicated years of your life to your sport, run thousands of miles, lost dozens of toenails, and turned into a total weirdo, guarding your sleep with homicidal zeal, and alienating those dearest to you with incessant wailing over your fucked up IT band...well, you understand how having it all fall apart on race day might destroy you just a bit.
After more than five hours of running, I crossed that finish line. I dimly remember someone throwing a medal over my head and shoving a commemorative beer stein into my hands. I didn't care. I just wanted to find my dad. I shoved my way to the back of the finishing area, through the crush of half-dead runners and wonderful volunteers, and there he was, like I knew he would be. I fell into his arms and lost it. I mean there's the ugly cry, and then there's the UGLY CRY. A few hours later I drank gin out of my stein.
Nearly a year later, Dad and I are gearing up to try again. My IT band is acting up a little, but I've got a good feeling about this race. Nothing left to do but run.