Friday, May 27, 2011

To my daughter. (29 days to go!)

My prayers were answered. You're here, you're healthy, and you're more beautiful than I ever thought possible, especially given that half of your genes are shared with me.

There's something you need to know, though, baby girl. Your mommy and daddy are runners. In your daddy's case in particular, he likes to run...a lot. I mean, I'm going out of town for an entire long weekend today...and the absolute worst thing about it is that I won't see you until Tuesday.

But you see, running's what we do. Unfortunately, we don't do it well enough to get paid to do it, and that's why we pick up our briefcases each morning and head into the office. Until I met you, and other than your mother, it has been the one thing that gets me through those tough days when nothing seems to go right and everyone appears to be the enemy. Running is my therapy, my escape, my way to find balance in a sometimes crazy world.

A lot of people don't run, and in my opinion, they don't realize what they are missing. Yes, it's a crazy world, but it's also an amazing one. There is so much to explore out there, and our time here is finite. I can't wait to show you so much of it, but I know that even the most well-meaning father can't show you it all. You'll need to discover some of its beauty on your own. Here's a tip: I've learned that there is no better way to do that than on my own two feet.

Some of my fondest memories have come while I was running. I'll never forget the sound of ocean waves crashing onto the beach on Sanibel Island or the tingy echo of bagpipes playing mystically across the lake on a Friday night before a Notre Dame football game. I can still smell the pungent stench of fish one early morning at the Pike Place Market. It wasn't pleasant, but I can taste the gravelly dirt air from passing cars in the middle of the night somewhere in Oregon. I can see pairs of headlamps glowing across that Sierra Nevada canyon, dancing like fireflies under a California full moon. And the cheers...oh, the cheers! I've never felt more like a superstar than when I've made those left hand turns on the streets of Boston and Chicago, masses of spectators rooting for me...for him...for her... for all of us! That burning pain in my legs disappeared in an instant, only to be replaced by the warm sensation of tears rolling down my cheeks. I hope you get to experience that feeling of jubilation even more frequently than I have in my life.

But few memories are better than those of my own rhythmic breathing, mind cleared, the miles clicking away as I run toward the finish line, or a cold beer, or home to you, or even nowhere at all, just out to run because I can.

I have no idea if you'll be a runner, or if you'll even want to be one. You kick those legs around so much that I can't help but think you will be. I want to share this gift I've been given with you, but I promise I will do my best to let you pursue the things that interest you. If the day comes, however, when you ask if you can join me on the roads or trail, know that I won't tell you "no." In fact, that first mile we share together will undoubtedly be my most memorable mile yet.


  1. very well said Silky, enjoy the weekend.

  2. Made me cry. As I am about to set out for my 20 mile run this afternoon, there must be something in our gene pool. Her grandma hopes to still be running and have the opportunity to share a mile with her as well. Have a safe trip!

  3. Candace Karu used to be an editor at Running Times, and she also wrote a column she called The Running Life. I used to read her column first every month, because I was convinced she was in my head--somehow she managed to write what I was thinking, far more beautifully than I could ever express it. With this entry, you've done that, too. Got a little misty reading it--very nicely done.

    Now get outta my head... :-)

  4. I can relate so much, wel, all except the 100 mile race part! Ash wants to go for a run with your daughter. But you and her can have the first mile.


  5. Chad,

    Quit that dopey legal job and start writing for a living you are a natural. That was fantastic. Keep Nora on your shoulder at WS and you will be flying over the Sierra Nevadas