I recently did some surgery on an older—and much longer—essay for Runner's World. It's a way of thanking my mom for the gift of running. You can read the full essay here!
I once owned a runner’s handbook—a gift from my mom—with blank pages to record daily runs along with notes on pace, distance, and nutrition. The book included a list of myths about running, each myth met by a rebuttal from the author. One in particular stood out to me. The myth was that you run for your health. This is true, of course, in part. But the author offered an incisive rebuttal: “Bullshit. You run for the joy of being alive.”
Training for this marathon, I’d pull on running shoes in the evenings after work or on early mornings. As I rolled out of bed in the dark, I’d consider taking the day off. But I never did, and each time I was glad. In these moments I thought how unlike me it was to set my alarm for six a.m. on a Saturday and push for fifteen miles, how like my mom it was instead. I’d run and feel her there too, running beside me.