Someday, when we get out of this hospital, I’ll take you to a place I love. Ir’s a manmade peninsula of land in DC where people golf, ride bikes, grill meat, and go fishing, and where a select few use it for it’s truest and noblest purpose: running.
Even among runners, it is widely considered a windswept, Godforsaken spit of land where the weather is always hotter or colder or windier or wetter than it is anywhere else. But your dad looks at it a bit differently. To him, it is a solitary and very familiar place to go again and again to do the same thing. If it is monotonous, it only helps to reflect the differences in the seasons, or the differences in his life, or the differences in the workouts.
Come with me, and I’ll show you the little marks along the road which represent miles and kilometers, Which represent the striving and discomfort and huffing and plotting and planning and pushing of hundreds of workouts. Times when I’ve just done a leisurely loop, or 3-mile laps on the only clear pavement after a snowstorm, or found a stretch to do repeats: 1K, 2K, 1 mile. Or lactate workouts of several miles, and even a course where I ran 39:58, all by myself (once).
Some things, my boy, just need to be done by yourself. Others can support you, and care about you. They can offer their presence, even, and cheer you on. But some tests and challenges are best faced in a solitary way. I have a deep sense that you already know this, though.
So tomorrow, when we pull out your tube and let you breathe on your own, we’ll probably hover around the bed and try not to look too stressed. We’ll offer you the occasional word of encouragement, but mostly we’ll do our best to just stand back and admire your effort. We’ll love you and pray for you and pull for you, but we’ll leave you be, so that you can give this the best shot you can.