Do you remember my favorite sentence?

It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.
– Lester Burnham, American Beauty

Well, it turns out I might just come by it naturally.

Neither of us can remember exactly how or when the idea got traction, but it did. One minute we were talking about how fun it would be IF we ran a half marathon together, and the next thing we knew – this.

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That’s my Dad. He turned 65 in August and decided to register for his first half marathon — not necessarily in that order. A sucker for a half marathon, and a fan of the Rock ‘n’ Roll series — I was in. This summer was all over the place with cancelled triathlons and not much distance running, but I had been looking forward to this race since I clicked register back in April.

It didn’t work out for my boys to make the trip so it was just me and my parents. As I got off the plane in San Antonio, it occurred to me I couldn’t remember the last time it was just the three of us. If ever. We think it might have been a weekend while I was in college. They came to Fayetteville and we went to a basketball game. We’re the only ones in the few pictures we have. So this is, what, the second weekend in 31 years I’ve spent one-on-one with my parents!

We had a ball. We walked the expo, had dinner, braved Toys R Us for some quick Christmas shopping — and it was time to head home and get to bed. Race morning always comes early.

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I have a real knack for choosing the wrong clothing for any given weather, and running is no different. This particular morning I decided a long-sleeve layer UNDER a tank was the way to go, but luckily we had plenty of time to hang out at the start line and plenty of time for me to figure out I had on WAY too many clothes for November in San Antonio.

Shortly after this photo, I shed the long-sleeve. (And later wished I’d opted for shorts, too, but you can’t win ’em all.)

After watching the elites and the wheelchair start, a few quick pics, and a good luck hug from Mom – we were off! See ya in 13.1!


Start line selfie!
Start line selfie!

We let Dad’s knees set the pace and settled in. No real time goal, no pressure. The only number we had in mind was 4 hours – the course time limit – we felt confident we could stay within that.

And because I’m a sucker for overpriced race photos

We walked when we needed to, ran when we wanted to – and had a great time with the music, the atmosphere, and the people-watching. Around mile 10, the heat was cranking and Dad’s knees were talking to him. I joked, “you know, we’re wearing shirts that say NEVER QUIT, Dad. We’re committed.”

Which brings me to another of my favorite sentences.

If you have a strong enough WHY, you can withstand any HOW.

Our why?

  • To invest ourselves in a fun experience together.
  • Why not?
  • Because we were wearing a hero on our backs and that hero’s attitude on our chests — and we heard volunteers and spectators cheer NEVER QUIT at us for 13 miles. Best WHY ever.

We saw Mom at the halfway point and at the finish – she was a great cheerleader and pit crew!


The finish line was a sight for sore eyes (and aching knees) and we pushed across the line, happily felt the medals around our necks —


— and headed straight for the medic tent for some ice.

Congratulations, half marathoner!

We did it! I don’t know if Dad’s quite ready to do it AGAIN, but we did it!

I’m so proud of him for taking on the challenge, and pushing through the HOW. We did it – together. And after spending the rest of the weekend being lazy around the house — Mom and Dad teaching me about their new favorite cocktail (mmm, RumChata), Mom mending a pair of my pants, and showing me the work they’ve been doing in their backyard — we decided we needed a photo to commemorate this “just the three of us” occasion!

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It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself.
– Lester Burnham, American Beauty

Proud of you, Dad. Let me know when you’re ready for #2.

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8 thoughts on “A little bit Rock ‘n’ Roll

  1. OMGOSH THE MEDAL IS THE ALAMO!!!!! This 50 state thing may take a but longer than expected. There are clearly states I will need to repeat. :) Congrats to you and your dad!!!!

    1. I know!! And the course runs right past all the coolest little parts of town — including The Alamo!

  2. So, did you complete it within the time you were hoping? I am so proud of you guys. P.S. Colt looks A LOT like your father.

  3. We did! Just under 4 hours! And thanks — every time I think he looks just like one of us (Jeff/me/Dad/Pop) I see a photo that makes me change my mind. Most recently, I think he looks like childhood photos of Becky!

  4. Great write up Sarah. I loved every minute of our weekend and was so glad you were there with me.

    1. Right back atcha. Ready for round 2?

  5. Love the last picture, of what looks like a backyard porch, maybe? Regardless, it’s a great shot. Glad the race went so well.


    1. Thanks, Greg. They’re good people :) I’ll keep ’em.

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