I haven’t run a half marathon since 2010. I was registered to run the Wild Half last summer at the shore, but Hurricane Irene had other plans. The inaugural event was cancelled due to last summer’s storm. Entrants were not refunded their monies, instead we were offered entry into the second (first) inaugural event this year; this coming Sunday to be exact.
I wasn’t sure if this was a race I was going to run. Making the effort to get to the shore, shelling out the money for a hotel room, finding someone to watch my daughter while I ran seemed a bit daunting. Plus, it’s been a while since I’ve completed a half marathon, so I was pretty much prepared to take this as a loss and just forgo the entry fee. However, things worked out differently.
A college girlfriend of mine and her entire extended family rent a shore house in North Wildwood, N.J., for a week every summer. Last summer we were all here Hurricane Irene week. We got our kids together for the first time, it had been 10 years since we’d seen each other last, and we caught up without skipping a beat. This year, my daughter and I are in that beach house as part of the family and sharing their vacation, which is very much a privilege.
When I say family vacation, I should be clear and mention this shore house sleeps 35 people comfortably and most of the time you can find at least 20 of us on the giant wrap around porch. There are kids everywhere for my daughter to play with. There are adults everywhere for me to interact with. Also, there are board games, skits, breakfast competitions, long days on the beach and adult beverages are flowing freely – which I would normally avoid for at least the week before a half marathon. But I did say this was a privilege.
While we are down here at the shore I am reminded of just how important family is. I’m watching my crazy college girlfriend mother her 5 children and it warms my heart because she is doing such a magnificent job raising them. I watch her and her husband’s parents enjoy the time with their grandchildren. We are spending time with aunts and uncles and new moms and dads and their babies. Every single person here is truly grateful that they all have this time together for this one week each year, and I am, too.
So, while getting down here before this vacation was an option that may have seemed daunting, it’s not a week I envision Sophia and I will miss in the future. And while I didn’t think that running this race was something I was going to do, it would be a bit silly not to now that I am here. With a family like this behind me, there is no way I won’t have a great race. I’m anxious about the run because it has been a couple years, as well because it is coming at the end of vacation week; but I am totally looking forward to crossing that finish line, getting back to this beach house and enjoying a hot cup of coffee… on the porch!