Archive for February 11, 2011

Dear Dom –

It’s been awhile since I wrote to you, no good excuse really, so I won’t try to make up one on the spot. I’m sure you remember how the first five or six months were after Sierra was born, time just seems to evaporate right before your eyes.

It is the best though Dom, you were right about that.

I can hardly remember what my life was like before Landry was born. She is absolutely the greatest. I can’t wait until she is a little older and I can start showing her pictures and telling her stories about her Uncle Dom.

Daddy's Little Girl

Today would have been your 40th Birthday.

I know that 39 was the last birthday that you will have ever celebrated, but that’s not going to stop us down here. February 11th will always be your birthday as far as I’m concerned.

A bunch of family and friends are getting together Friday night in Pittsburgh to celebrate the occasion in your honor. I know that every one of them would do just about anything to be able to have you there along with them.

Your birthday falls just four days shy of six months since we lost you Dom. I can’t believe that it has been that long already. I still think of you every morning when I put on my running shoes or hop on the tri-bike for a training ride. In fact, I’ve carried your initials on my shoes across five finish lines over the past few months training for the Austin Marathon.

Each and every time those races have resulted in a new PR for me at that distance. I have one more race to go in 9 days, and I have every intention of making it six straight.

I’m sure you remember what you told me in the chute at Pittsburgh last May. I’ve kept that chat between just you and I for the most part since then. Just a few close friends know how much this next race means to me. You said:

“I know you ran these last two marathons for me and you weren’t able to run them as fast as you could have so close together. Run the next one for yourself and absolutely kill it.”

Your words inspired me Dom in more ways than you ever could have imagined.

You pushed me to train harder than I knew that I was capable of.

I’m running faster, stronger, longer and harder than I ever have before. I owed you that much after all that you went through last year fighting your cancer with everything ounce of strength that you had.

I have never been so inspired by another person before in my life Dom. Before last year courage was just a word to me that people threw around casually. But after seeing you fight for more time with Val, Sierra, Nico, your Mom, Dad, Brothers, Cousins, Nieces, Nephews and friends – I finally knew what courage was all about.

So here we are on your 40th birthday and I’m getting ready for what will be my last official “Run for Dom” race. We’ve had a lot of people reach out and support the races Dom and right now are up over $33,000 in gifts for Sierra and Nico’s education. I’m hoping we are able to raise even more before race day on the 20th.

I might not be racing again for donations, taking mile sponsors and gifts for the kids like this in the future, but don’t for a second think that I’ve forgotten you or that you don’t still fuel the competitive fire that I have inside of me.

Your initials will adorn every pair of running shoes I ever own.

Every finish line I cross I will have you with me.

After Austin you and I will be heading out to Arizona 5 days later to compete in a 202 mile ultra-marathon with some really great friends. You would love these guys Dom. They are amazing athletes and even better people.

From there we’ll be starting up-front, seeded in a road race for the first time in my life at this year’s Capitol 10K here in Austin. There will be close to 30,000 runners lining Congress Avenue that morning Dom. You and I will beat most of them.

A week later we’ll be seeded again at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC, another huge 10K race with close to 40,000 runners. The race crosses that long bridge we crossed when you and Val came down to be at our wedding in 1999.

We’ll be running in the Denver Half-Marathon in October, then on to The New York Marathon on November 6th.

Talk about a finish line I can’t wait to cross with you Dom. NYC? Are you kidding me?

And then hopefully, if we run well at Austin next week, a return trip to the Boston Marathon in 2012. You and I both have a little score to settle with Boston.

I just wanted to thank you once again for all the great lessons you taught me and the gift of calling you my friend.

I miss you every day Dom and wish more than anything that you would be at the finish line next Sunday when we kick that marathon squarely in the ass once and for all. I know now that courage is about effort, not about results. You taught me that one, and I promise that I am going to let it all hang out on the 20th.

For the people who will be there – Dawn, Landry, friends and fellow runners I promise it is going to be a finish line they remember for a long, long time.

I plan on leaving no doubt.

Happy Birthday Dom, we all love and miss you.

Joe

Joe & Dom - Post Pittsburgh Marathon

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