Searching for running goals to guide me through 2016 prompted some serious self-examination about what motivates me most. Especially coming off of last year, if I am going to commit to something beyond a local 10k, it needs to grab me and inspire me in a very real way. I set the bar high, looking for something I could commit to wholeheartedly and without a second thought.
Part of this exercise involved seeking out the answer to the most basic question: Why do I run? For me, running is a celebration of life. And I am most motivated when I am pursuing something that is much bigger than me and just out of my reach.
On October 9, 2016, I will run the Chicago Marathon as part of the DetermiNation team supporting the American Cancer Society. I will run in memory of my Dad, Craig Pridgen, and in joyful celebration of the life he lived. The race is big, but the cause is so much greater: To finally bring an end to cancer.
My Dad would be 70 years old this month. He was an attorney, an unwavering Giants fan, and a connoisseur of a well barbequed burger that he inevitably would share with his dog. His heart and eventual home was on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, where we developed decades-worth of happy memories with my parents, shared generation-to-generation. Probably his worst investment was in a 1960s era, beyond-high-maintenance, wooden boat that he proudly took out on the Lake every summer, offering rides to anyone who showed even the slightest bit of interest in this classic.
But his greatest joy was in his role as proud Dad and grandfather. Even better was his view from the cheap seats after his kids started having kids. I cannot count the number of times he would spontaneously turn to me with a mischievous look in his eyes and state some version of: “I CANNOT WAIT until Megan starts bringing boys home ….”, “I CANNOT WAIT until you have to teach William how to drive …”, “I CANNOT WAIT to see your brother when he has kids.” It was going to be the ultimate payback for all of the teenage drama (mine) and teenage antics (my brother’s) we put our parents through when we were growing up.
My Dad passed away from cancer two years ago. Our daughter was 16, our son was 12, and my brother’s son was 3 months away from being born.
So Dad, Papa C, “Craigger” … the next 26.2 miles are for you.
In training for the Chicago Marathon, I celebrate my father. May this effort also bring additional awareness to a cause that, God willing, some day will lead to happier endings and a cure.
More information about DetermiNation and opportunities to donate to the American Cancer Society can be found here