I love you Mom.

Posted: June 27, 2011 in Motivation
Tags: , ,

I was out this afternoon swimming in the quarry over my lunch hour.  Three 750 M loops around the lake in open water with no breaks along the way.  A swim that 12 weeks ago while not only impossible for me, seemed absolutely absurd.  A 1.4 mile swim in a body of water with no sides to grab ahold of, no line on the bottom to sight by, no bottom to stand-up on if I got tired or needed a break.

No chance.

But time and hard work create the “new normal” all the time.  Runs that used to scare me before I completed my first marathon now are just circled on my training calendar as “interesting” or “challenging” – nothing seems impossible.

I have runner friends that tell me often that I’m a “tough runner”.

That when conditions are poor, oftentimes I run some of my best races.

I don’t seem to “fall off” as much as other runners do when it is hot or cold, windy or hilly.  I for whatever reason find a way to keep going, keep pushing hard, always try, always do my best.  It has become ingrained in me to not cede an inch, as if you start doing that it becomes easier and easier.  Before you know it you’ve quit.

And once you’ve quit one time, it makes quitting the next time easier and far more likely.

On my swim today I found myself alone with my thoughts, working on my catch and pull, listening to my breathing, noticing the sun beating down on me when I rotated out to catch a breath, warming my body – then as I rotated back down to take a long stroke the water felt cooler, refreshing.

It is amazing how much I am enjoying my time in the water now.  It just took 3 months, 12 lessons and more than 60 hours in the water …. but it came to me finally, just like everyone told me it would.

But today as I continued to try to get better at my swim, I thought a lot about where this supposed “toughness” comes from.  Why doesn’t everyone have it?  Why can’t everyone do it?  Why do I see people walking during races as they tire, but we keep pushing?

I think I am closer to figuring out that answer today than I was say a week ago or the week before that.  I think a large part of who we are comes from where we came from.

As I watch Landry learn to crawl, learn to eat, play, laugh and smile as she takes on the world through the eyes of a 10-month-old, I can see bits and pieces of Dawn and myself.  She is a part of our family now and we of course are a part of her.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at Noon my mother will be going through a significant surgery to have a mass removed from the left side of her brain.

The pressure that this mass has been causing lately has created some memory issues for my mother and although we do not know the nature of this mass quite yet, only a biopsy will tell that story after her surgery, we do know that this has to be removed and we are all preparing for the various scenarios post-op.

Over the past 12 months I’ve seen a close friend ravaged by cancer and taken from all of us before his 40th birthday.  My best friend and Godfather to Landry lost his wife in a camping mishap 11 months ago.  My good running friend Scott Birk hit by a car and killed two weeks ago while out on a training run.

I’ve had my share of tests of faith over the course of the last year – of that there is no question.

But watching my Mother go through this situation with an amazing amount of courage and determination has been awe-inspiring.  She is one tough lady, and I know that there is simply no quit in her.  Whatever needs to happen after surgery tomorrow, she will make happen.

She has a lot of reasons to fight to stay in this world, watching her grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up, watching her sons and daughter become the people she always hoped she would and many more years to spend with her husband of more than 50 years.

So perhaps I learned a little bit more about myself this week, that the next time things aren’t going exactly the way I planned, whether that is NYC, Boston or an Ironman finishing is not a goal, it is an absolute.

My mom didn’t raise no quitter, it’s just not an option.

Best to you tomorrow Mom, I love you.


  1. Jodi says:

    Your mom sounds like an amazing woman and you are a tough runner. Your momma didn’t bring up “no quitter”. My thoughts and prayers are with your mom and all of you tomorrow.

  2. Jim in Maine says:

    Prayers from Maine as your Mother will be in Patti’s and my thoyghts Joe. I have no doubt that, like her son, she is no quitter. I am also willing to bet that Landry wouldn’t be a quitter either.

  3. tbrush3 says:

    We will be praying here in Atlanta Joe.

  4. connie73 says:

    Lots of love and prayers will be going to her from Monroeville Pa

  5. I hope all goes well with the surgery & biopsy! Lots of prayers for you & the family!

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