Genevieve Miles Murphy

In honor of my mother, Genevieve Miles Murphy.

I was out for my long training run this morning. I felt great after getting a full 7 hours of sleep–far more than my average of around 5. From the time, I stepped out of the car, things began to go wrong. I had forgotten my GPS running watch. I’m particular about tracking every run. I like to analyze the data afterward to measure my progress.

I say to myself “Calm down. Use your phone to track.” Then I discover that getting my new phone in and out of the pouch on my hydration belt was going to be quite difficult. I upgraded a few weeks ago. The new phone, of course, is much larger than my previous one. “Dude, chill out. Just start the app and tuck the phone away. You know your route, and you can do this without monitoring your pace.”

Off I go, but I hadn’t run with this hydration belt in over a year. It was getting in the way and the combined weight of the phone and the fluid made the belt uncomfortable. I can’t focus. I want to give up, but I need this run. I’ve got a half marathon (13.1 miles) next weekend. Training has not gone as planned. I need to finish this run (11 miles), regardless of pace, to stabilize my confidence.

At mile 3, I decided to ditch the belt, my phone and the fluids. There was a school nearby so I hid the belt under a safety cone and prayed no one would find it. I took a few deep breaths to steady myself. I’m not accustomed to running without technology. Off I go again, but this time I find my rhythm. I feel free. I don’t really know how fast I’m going, and I don’t care. I’m running. It feels good. That’s all that matters.

As I get into the zone, I begin thinking of my mother, who died in October 2001. She never saw me fit. She never saw me run. Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have her waiting at the finish line for me. I know she would cheer, shout and put on a show as if I had won the race. I even imagine taking my finisher medal and placing it around her neck because I know that even when things were uncomfortable, when things were going wrong in her life, she maintained her focus. She didn’t quit. She ran for me.


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