My uncle would have been 55 yesterday. Why is this important, you may ask? Well, he was a runner before he passed away. In addition, he was my mom’s brother, and my mom is 100% Irish. So that is where the Irish part of my blog makes sense-though thanks to my dad, I’m just a little over half Irish. 🙂 I think back to how much of a part of my life my uncle was before he left us, and I have some regret. Mostly my regret stems from the fact that when he was fully involved in running, I was a selfish 20 something year old, busy with school, trying to figure life out, and exercise was pretty low on my list of priorities. This is the 5-8 years of my life that I did not run on a regular basis (shocking, I know). It was not that I didn’t try to exercise, or run, it was just that I did so very sporadically.
For example, in 2001 I decided to run the Corporate Cup 10k. I may have ran a couple of miles here and there about two weeks leading up to the race. I completed it, but I was so sick all day after that I had to call in sick for my part-time job, and the job wasn’t until 2:30 in the afternoon-the race had been at 8am! That race solidified for me the strong urge to ALWAYS BE PREPARED for any sort of road race going forward!
But back to my first point-my uncle. He really got into running as I recall back in the ’90s-and my dad went along with him to train and complete a half marathon. At the time I could not have been less impressed by this (silly ignorant me). Looking back I wish I had paid more attention. In fact, I wish as I had gotten more into my 20s, I had been more diligent about running and had those opportunities to pick my uncle’s brain apart about his running, how he trained/prepared for the run, his diet, etc. I don’t even really know how fast he was-though I do recall my dad saying my uncle was quite a bit faster than him at the half marathon they completed back in the day (I should certainly hope so-my dad is currently 69, so you can do the math from there on the age difference)! 🙂 It was the only half my dad ever did, because shortly after that, he had a heart attack and was told he could never run again.
From what I recall, after that race that my dad completed, my uncle continued to run-and I think he may have even completed a marathon or two before he died too soon. Regardless of where life was at that time when I was clueless about what I was missing out on by not being more focused on my running, or my communication with my uncle or dad in that regard, I will always remember my uncle and my dad as being runners that I must have inherited the running genes from somehow, and am thankful that I can continue to run. To this day I chat with my dad about running and he listens without yawning!
So I’ll leave you with a pretty hilarious “Modern Irish Blessing” that my mom shared with me the other day:
“May the road rise to meet you and traffic be sparse; May the wind be always at your back and never mess up your hair; May the sun shine warm upon your face and your sunscreen be applied evenly; And the rain fall soft upon your fields and you remember to carry an umbrella; And until we meet again may God hold you in the palm of his hand and never make a fist”
Correction: my uncle would have been 56…boy has time flown by!