I wasn’t meant to be here, lined up at a start line, standing, warming up, a wind chill chewing at my joints and wondering will I pay a price for days like this when I’m old and gray. Sitting cramped in a Buxton chair and me dribbling from worn out sphincter muscles.
No, this wasn’t in my weekend plans, a 10k run in Carlow!…I was meant to be in Croker, with Caoilfhionn checking out the Dubs league form, and dreaming of a “Day in September and All Ireland glory”.
But Jim Furlong threw a spanner in my weekend plans when he signed his daughter Rebecca and my daughter Caolifhionn up for their first competitive 10k run.
But it didn’t matter. How many more days like this will I have, to share with my youngest daughter, before she drifts away on the tide of Independence and a life of her own?
The 795 forum didn’t breathe a word about the 10k, and yet on the day, they came out of the woodwork to run, to cheer, to support, and just to meet up….
I looked across at Barry, his three small daughters huddled close clung tight to Daddy, while Lorraine limbered up, well on her way to full fitness. And I envied him the years ahead, the close moments of just being there, being part of their wonderful lives…their schools concerts, their sporting days, their growing up, their tears, their fears, their broken hearts, their smiles their laughter, and even their late night phone calls “Daddy can you come and get me” and their New Years Eve, full to the gills out side the Rivers Edge “Ah Barry cherish these moments, because in the blink of an eye……..the years roll by”.
There is no greater feeling then that of taking part…feeling fit, tipping along, setting a pace, drifting up through the pack. Losing yourself in thought, oblivious to the world around you. And wondering, how Caoilfhionn was doing on this her first 10k..Thinking of Barry and the years ahead he has as a Father. Thinking of my own Father, remembering a day like this, before I got married we headed into Croker to watch his beloved Louth play….and in that moment we closed the gap on the madness that was my teenage years. If he was alive today, how proud he’d be. Of me…and his grand-daughter that he never met, Caoilfhionn struggling along some where down the track.
On I ran, wondering where have all the years gone. Look at Caoilfhionn now, all of a sudden 18yrs old, and us, Father and Daughter in the same race. How many more shared days like this will I have?…
And then I stopped, stopped running, watched as all those that I just picked off pass me by…and waited on Caoilfhionn… “How many more days like this will we have, is right”, I thought, Father and Daughter, running together. So that’s what I did, waited till she came up the road and together we paced each other home. Forgetting about the Dubs, forgetting about clocking a personal best. This was my personal best, me and Caoilo, running home running for the finish line. With cheers and shouts of encouragement, ringing in our ears, and that feeling, that wonderful adrenalin rush, from competing, from crossing the line, from being part of Racing 795, and their whoops and cheers…Ah yes, these are the moments on this cold, cold March Sunday. When Mothers the world over were being celebrated, me and Caoilo the youngest, having our day, storing a memory….this is what being a “Da” is all about, this was my Fathers Day…