Masthead header

Cowtown Half Marathon

Around the beginning of November, a coworker suggested that we run the Cowtown Half Marathon together on February 24. I had never in my life run more than 8 kilometers at a time, and even that distance only once. I had not run more than the distance from the baseline to the net in many years. So, of course I’ll run 13.1 miles with you, Josh.

Training started slowly. I only managed two milers the first few times out. On my 14th run, I ran four miles for the first time since that 8K in 2001. My 17th run was a five-miler with Francis pacing me on the bicycle on the Trinity Trail. After seven miles (my 24th run), my knees ached at the top of the fibula on both legs. They continued to hurt throughout my running experience. They hurt today, eight days after my half marathon with no running in between.

My training partner, Josh, dropped out with an injured achilles tendon a week before the race. He gave his race bib to another coworker (who was more prepared than either of us to run this distance).

I had only reached ten miles during my long-run training, so I didn’t know how I would react to the long distance. The run itself was pretty unremarkable. I did lose steam in the last mile and a half, but I made it without walking. Probably a nutrition issue.

The very best part was at ten miles, after the one intimidating hill in the run, George came out and jogged with me for a hundred yards or so. Sally had planned that, but she didn’t expect Sam to dart out and run with us. George was such a workman, running at pace next to me with a stoic and determined look on his face. Sam was a gadfly, flitting around us and giggling like a maniac. The rest of the runners cheered for them when they split off.

My heart was so full.

Thirty

Thirty years ago today, about this time in the afternoon, my dad came home from work early. It was his last day of work. It was his last day.

A heart attack, his second, took his life a few hours later. I mark this day every year, an anniversary of mourning. Other dates slip in and out of my memory, but June 28, 1982 has always been the day. The day everything changed, though I was too young to understand how. Even the few memories I have before that day are colored by what June 28 would bring. The hallway in front of my bedroom, where my dad eased himself to the floor, is a bottleneck in time and space. Everything before and after travelled through that pinchpoint to arrive here.

And here we are. How would things be different? What lessons would I have learned from him? What injuries would we have inflicted on each other? Would he respect what I have become? These are the kinds of questions I ask, especially on the big round number anniversaries.

November 17, 2012 - 5:42 pm

sarai - Just read this….although I was much older when I lost a parent, I also wonder the same things. But I’m sure he would be proud of you, your beautiful family.

My Pop.

After four years of fighting in Vietnam, my dad, a ’63 West Point grad, was shot in the leg leaving him disabled (one leg is over an inch shorter than the other). As a 29 year old disabled soldier, he went to med school and became a career army doctor.

Growing up, I knew my dad had a giant and I mean, GIANT scar on his leg. His upper thigh was severely disfigured and he told us as kids that an alligator attacked him. 😉 He’s always worn special shoes (grey New Balance tennis shoes with a special lift built on them) and has had back trouble and knee trouble to follow. I would guess, not a day goes by that he’s not impacted by that moment he was shot in the jungles of Vietnam. But unlike many of his peers, he was lucky enough to come home.

Just a few months after being shot, while laying in the hospital, he watched the news as Walter Cronkite announced the entire unit he commanded had been ambushed and most of his comrades had been killed. He would spend over a year recovering in the hospital.

He never talked about it and never went to reunions because he said, “He wouldn’t know anyone there.”

Today, he sent me a link he found. It’s stock footage taken moments…seriously just minutes…before and after he was shot. Mind you, he spent close to four years in Vietnam and the only video of his unit is the day he was shot. A story he never talks about – recorded and being sold as stock footage. Bizarre. We were tearful and laughing as we watched it over the phone on our computers together today. Tearful at the harsh realities of war and laughing at the sight of a 26 year old, 127 pound, smoking version of my Pop.

Here are the links:

Before the attack:

He’s the shirtless, left-handed guy with the big nose looking at the map. I’m not kidding when I say, as I looked through probably 20 of these films, I found myself looking for that nose… a nose that I share with him and have not always loved, became a real source of pride. Being able to spot him in this context and knowing what he went through. I found myself thinking… I love my that guy. I love my nose. 😉

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675026569_Operation-Junction-City_sit-in-dense-bushes_draped-with-ammunition_look-into-paper

During/After the attack:

My dad said the planes overhead are our guys providing air attack (or whatever army folk call it. 😉 ). He called them in and then later when you see him on the stretcher (1:30), you’ll see that he’s still calling in coordinates on the radio. Total stud. His leg is shot and he’s still taking care of business. 😉

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675026564_Operation-Junction-City_War-Zone-C_2nd-Battalion-173rd-Airborne-Brigade_wounded-soldier

There are a couple more clips that he’s in for just a few seconds, but these are the real winners. I don’t have the links to the other ones, you just have to search “Operation Junction City” or maybe it was “173rd”

Happy be-lated Father’s Day, Daddy.
I love you.

 

Bike Culture

Like a lot of families, we’re trying to embrace bicycle culture.  I’ve been riding my bike to work occasionally (it’s only four miles round trip), Francis has been on two wheels for almost two years.  George and Sam are on their way, and for the first time in our marriage, both Sally and I have our own bikes.  This is Sally’s bike with a child seat that her friend Kristen gave her.

I remember riding in a similar seat on the back of my dad’s ten speed Schwinn.  My only memory is one of paralyzing fear, but I wonder if I did sometimes enjoyed it as much as Sam.

Here, we’re heading home from Shaw’s, a new burger place on Magnolia Ave.  With the sidewalks and streets in our neighborhood being renovated, this is something we hope to do a lot more often.