Write to Run an Ultra-Marathon – This Ones for You, Dad

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, or to worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – The Teaching of Buddha

In 2012 I posted Write to Run a Marathon under the selfish guise of sharing practical advice for marathon training when I was actually trying psych myself up for a marathon I was ill-prepared to run. Two years later I find myself ill-prepared for my first ultra-marathon. So how do I plan to finish a 31-mile race with laughably few training miles?

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll write my way to run the ultra. I’ll write and psyche myself out. Crazy? With less than three weeks to go I don’t have a choice. 


Top ranked professional eater Joey Chestnut

Let me make one thing clear, I’m not Superman. Far from it. And I’m not starting from zilch. I ran the Steamtown Marathon in October, a couple of three-hour training runs and one three-and-one-half-hour run. But that’s kind of like Joey Chestnut eating a 12-pack of Nathan’s Hot Dogs to prepare for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, or Molly Schuyler eating a platter of Chick-fil-A wings to train for Wing Bowl. So I’m not starting from scratch, but I’m not in the ultra-ballpark either. Fortunately, I have a secret weapon–my Dad.

The Watchung Winter 50K is on the 30th anniversary of my dad’s death. Dad passed away suddenly at age sixty-five on January 3, 1985, a time in my life when I had four young kids, worked insane hours, and traveled often on business. I make no excuses, but I was a tad busy with my own life and I didn’t get to know him as well as I would have liked to. Thirty years later I still feel his presence. Thirty years later he still influences my life, the way I live, the choices I make. There was something about him. Maybe he had the Kavorka, like Kramer. He was a New Yorker, after all.

So this one is for you, Dad. I’ll run that 31 miles, or I’ll join you in the afterlife trying.

Dad at the age of 43 in 1962.

Dad at the age of 43 in 1962.

Seventeen days to the Watchung Winter 50K.


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Health, Marathon, Running, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Write to Run an Ultra-Marathon – This Ones for You, Dad

  1. Mark Mangan says:

    Nice tribute…to a wonderful Dad (I’m sure). You’ll do it…knowing you…you just do it!


Comments are closed.