The last few weeks have brought incredible upheaval and loss into my life. On Christmas Eve my 74 year old mother collapsed while standing in my brother’s kitchen. Despite some heroic efforts to resuscitate her, we said our goodbyes to her a few days later. Although she had some chronic medical problems, she was essentially well until that fateful moment.
While my mother certainly wasn’t an athlete, she was a major fan of my fledgling running career. (I resisted the temptation to call her an “athletic supporter”). My parents came with us to Disney in 2011 to watch me run my 1st race ever, the Disney World Half Marathon. She was so amazed and inspired by watching the race that I think she almost considered training. Unfortunately her previous smoking history (she had quit more than a decade before her death) left her breathless on the monorail ramps and required an ECV to get around Disney.
One year later she was there in January, 2012 to cheer for my first full marathon. The day before the full, we stood outside the Grand Floridian Resort watching the half marathoners run by. I had purchased a huge box of Twizzlers that we handed out. My mom wasn’t very interested in this activity at first. As she watched the runners react enthusiastically to the Twizzlers, she began to participate and later wished we had purchased more boxes of candy to hand out. She gained an appreciation for the role of an active spectator during an endurance event.
My mom was an avid reader of my blog even though she commented infrequently. She loved reading about my training and learning more about the sport of endurance running with me. While many have tried to convince me that running the Goofy is just plain Goofy, my mom totally understood my need to push myself.
The last time I saw my mom was on December 22. We had decided to celebrate Christmas together that day. We had 10 people over for a big turkey dinner at my house. Before she left I had started preparing my water bottles and gels and electrolytes for the following morning’s 24 mile run. We had been talking about my children coming to her house later in the week and she wondered if I was packing them snacks for a long weekend away. I explained that this was what I took with me on my long runs. She was shocked that running required so much stuff!
The next day I called after finishing my run. I had to drive to the hospital to check on a patient and, as was often my habit, I took advantage of my car’s bluetooth to call her. We talked about the details of my long run and my final preparation for the Goofy. Again she was the ultimate cheerleader. Although she wasn’t planning to join me in Florida this time around, she’d be following via runners tracking.
About 24 hours later I got that dreaded phone call.
I suppose, in a way, she WILL be with me during the Goofy after all.