Friday, June 01, 2007

The journey begins

San Diego. Finally.
I talked to my daddy last night about the marathon I’m about to run day after tomorrow.
He’s a little hard of hearing at nearly 88 and all, but he clearly heard these words after he asked me (again) how long or far I’d be running Sunday.
“It’s 26.2 miles, daddy.”
A brief silence.
“Better you than me, hee-hee-hee (he has a great laugh). Has the doctor checked your heart?” He laughed, but was serious, too. “My heart is great, daddy.”
We talked a lot about my running (in between his commenting on the Spurs game and whether they’ll play the Pistons in the finals). He told me many times how proud he was.

He even remembered that awful year in high school when I ran track and he and mom used to go see me run at my meets. I was always last, but I finished (his mantra, finish what you start).
My daddy said he’s glad that I finally got off of my butt and started exercising.
He constantly reminds me about the diabetes that is on both sides of the family and how I’m the only one who doesn’t have it. Yet.
“Check your blood sugar,” he said. “Or I’ll check it for you next time you come home.”
He will – he does, every time I go visit. It’s sweet, really.
So I’ll be doing the Rock ’N Roll Marathon in San Diego day after tomorrow. I chose that one because my parents used to live there way before I was born.
My dad Luis was – is – a Marine (once a Marine, always a Marine, he says) and he spent most of the time during World War II either on an airplane or a ship in the South Pacific and would go quite often to San Diego.
(As an aside, my father didn’t get one single scratch on him between 1942 and 1946 while in the Pacific. That is completely amazing to me, but that’s probably another blog post…)

Anyway, during the Korean War, he was stationed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, and my mom and sisters lived there with him right outside of the base. (It’s likely my brother was conceived there…)
An earthquake strong enough to knock plates out of the cabinets and send them crashing to the floor was all my mother needed to say to daddy, “Love you lots, but I’m taking the kids and we’re going back to San Antonio.”
And back they went, by train, to Texas to wait for daddy to come back home. My mom (God rest her soul) always said she’d rather brave a tornado than an earthquake any day.
So, now I’m in San Diego, not just to run my first marathon, but to see, smell and feel what my parents loved about the only other place they said they’d ever live outside of Texas.
I also have marching orders from the Marine.
“Go to the base and take a picture of it for me. And finish your race.”
Yes sir, no problem.
Guess where the finish line is?!


Amy said...

That was a nice story. Good luck and don't forget to have fun.

MotownRunnerGirl said...

go team!!!! i'm so jealous!! would love to be there too!! have a great run and purple is definitely your color. very nice! it's funny what parents say about our crazy runs. my mom always asks me this after a race, like for real: did you win??

liz said...

yeah, my stepmom quetita was so cute. she said: "i hope you win!"
i think i already have, in so many ways that has nothing to do with running. see? i'm freaking crazy right now!!! where does this shit come from?!

MotownRunnerGirl said...

ha ha. tnt is like crack. i've said it many times before.

Al Durham said...

Your Dad sounds very caring and awesome. You have to love how paretns are conerned about how you are etc... TNT is a cult... and cults never let you leave.