Our Golden Triangle
Article by: Michael SelmanReproduced with permission of the author
This weekend, as has become tradition, I drove down to Wilmington, NC to celebrate a belated Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad. Many traditions have developed surrounding this weekend over the years. We always have our Thanksgiving meal on Saturday, since it is the most convenient time during the long weekend for us all to be at the same place at the same time.
We usually do our holiday gift exchanges during this weekend, too, for the same, above mentioned reason. It's nice to have the bulk of the holiday shopping out of the way before the end of November. Not every member of the family can attend every year, but we always try. This year, we fell short of a full house by one brother, his spouse, and my daughter, who is away in Israel for the year. We called her, however, and brought a little bit of Thanksgiving her way.
A couple of Thanksgiving traditions which have evolved more recently are two of which I am most fond. First, my girlfriend Harriet has accompanied me for the past 2 years, and that is a most welcomed addition. Secondly, she and I have joined my father for a 4 mile run on the Sunday morning after Thanksgiving, before we have headed back to Atlanta. It's an integral part of our weekend, and if we were ever not to do it, we would return home feeling less than totally fulfilled.
Every year, our run is more special than the year before. Dad is now 73 years old. Every year becomes a year closer to the time we won't be able to do this tradition any more, and this fact just makes it more precious. This year was questionable for a while. Dad's hamstring has been causing him problems in recent months, and it was only about 2 weeks ago that he was again able to run three miles without having to stop. Healing is not as quick as it used to be, but the desire to try and run is just as strong as ever. That can make recovery a difficult issue.
We set off on our run at about 6:30 Sunday morning. I was expecting a 12, or perhaps, if we were lucky, an 11 minute pace. The roads where he lives are not wide enough to run 3 abreast. So as we started, we assumed a triangle formation, with Dad in front, me off to the side, and Harriet a step or 2 back. I was surprised at how swiftly it felt like we were going. As we ran, we changed positions from time to time, with Dad always in front, or sharing the lead with either me or Harriet. But we kept on assuming one triangle position after another, always three points, connected with a very special bond. A bond of both running and family. Our Golden Triangle.
Words didn't have to be spoken, and few were. As we ran, I could hear Dad breathing very hard. As he ran, his feet scraped the ground with almost every stride. He was working hard, and we knew he was loving every second of it.
We ran 2 miles out, and then turned around to come back to where we had started. 2 miles was done in 21:40. That was fast for Dad. Very fast. But he was setting the pace. On the way back, he seemed to pick up the pace. I was surprised, as he was coming back from injury, and this would be a fast pace for him under any circumstances. With more heavy breathing, and feet scraping, I hit the second half split as we crossed the imaginary finish line. 19:09. We had run the 2 miles back at a 9:30 pace. That was an unbelievable pace for him.
His recovery was swift, however. Within a minute or two of finishing, he was breathing normally again, and totally elated with what he had just done. Harriet and I were very pleased too, for him, and for knowing that we had again shared in something very special. Our golden triangle, where family and runner all bond together. Just another thing to be thankful for.
Michael Selman Roads Scholar Atlanta Georgia USAMichael Selman is a freelance writer who has appeared in publications and web sites throughout the world, including Runner's World, Footnotes, and CoolRunning.