A New Runner
As a child, I watched in admiration when my father roused himself from his sleep at 5 a.m. for his morning run. I could understand the desire in the summer, when it was already light but still cool because the sun had not yet fully risen. However, getting up in the dark cold of winter seemed totally crazy to me. Was he possessed by some kind of running demon? I knew that my dad valued his time “pounding the pavement,” as he would say. [ ]
[ ] I’m not sure I would have started running if my little sister hadn’t been so good at tennis. That might sound like a strange reason to start running, but sibling rivalry can be a powerful motivator. We began taking tennis lessons at the same time, and she was amazing, hitting balls back across the net to score points in five minutes or less. In fact, I made it through a week of tennis camp without even managing to hit the ball. I simply didn’t have the coordination to make them happen.
I came home from camp that Friday dejected, only to find a pair of New Balance shoes—smaller versions of my father’s—in a box on my bed. My dad appeared at the door. “You know,” he said, “I have a feeling you’d make a great runner.”
 That day, I seriously doubted him.  After I put on my new shoes and tested them out a bit, we went for a jog together. My lungs, before I even reached the end of the street, was already desperate for air.  My father simply grinned and patted me on the back.
 “Rise and shine,” exclaimed a cheerful, though slight annoying, voice.  I woke up at 5 a.m. the next day to find my dad dangling my new shoes over me.  “Today, we go around the block.”  I did not think I had been able to do it, but I did, and that was how we progressed: slow but steady, adding a block or two at a time over a span of weeks, then months, then years.
I’ve just turned eighteen, and a few weeks ago, my father and I completed our annual half-marathon that we run together every year. He beat me by two minutes; what else could I have expected? The man’s a running demon.
However, getting up in the dark cold of winter seemed totally crazy to me.
I watched in admiration