Michael Wardian assures my mom I won't die. Part 4 of 4.

It's been no secret that my mom isn't a fan of the amount of running I do. She's a worrywart, constantly in fear that I'll drop dead mid-run. "When are you going to stop running?" she'll ask. Or, "You're running ANOTHER marathon?"

In some of the arguments we have, you'd think we were arguing about drug abuse. I'm ruining my body, it's not good for me, it's too much, it's too hot out, I'm going to die, what if I get hit by a car, what if, what if, what if...

Needless to say, when I broached the subject of running a 50-miler, I legitimately worried that she'd drop dead herself. Or disown me. She was so adamant against the idea at first that she bribed me with airfare for my trip to Punta Cana at the end of the year if I didn't run this race. (I didn't accept. Damn.)

"Please don't do it," she begged.

To her credit, I originally wanted to sign up for a July race.

"YOU CANNOT RUN 50 MILES IN JULY!11!!"

So I ended up running a marathon that day instead. But she was right. Goddamn, it was hot. But I digress.

Like any defiant child, I ignored it all, and only wanted to do it more. The more pissed she got, the more adamant I got that I was going to run a goddamn 50-mile race. So I signed up for the North Face 50 Miler in September. She was less than thrilled. Didn't want to talk about it, definitely wasn't going to show up to see it happen.

"I'm not going to go and watch you die," she'd say.

She's said that before about my marathons, too, but my parents are always there when they can, and always the loudest at the finish line. It makes me smile because I know, underneath all the worrying and head-shaking, they're damn proud. But this time she meant it. She would have nothing to do with this 50-mile race.

Grumble.

As the summer, and my training, wore on, while she would often lament at the miles I was putting in each weekend, I started to notice a shift in her. Was it pride? She'd begin asking how many miles I had to run each weekend, and some mornings I'd come home to a "You did it!" or "Yay!" text message when the run was over. She'd start to boast to her friends on Facebook about what her daughter could do.

Inside, I smiled. But she still had no intentions of watching 50 miles happen.

Then one day, it happened.

"Me and dad want to come to the finish line."

I think the world actually stopped for three seconds. SHE WANTED TO COME. My parents were going to BE there! Suddenly, in the following weeks, plans started happening. They weren't just coming for the finish, they were going to head out onto the course and encourage me along the way. Last weekend they actually drove to Kettle Moraine with maps and GPS and plotted out various points so they could see their daughter run her first 50-mile race.

They don't know it (although I suppose they do now, *waves*), but my heart has actually exploded over and over in the last couple weeks as I've watched their excitement grow. And while most of my best friends in the whole world are going to be out there Saturday giving me their hugs and their love and their energy, there are two people whose presence alone will get me to the finish line. My mom and dad. I love you.

And now kindly listen as Michael Wardian assures my mom (and all of us) that no one's going to die on Saturday. This video actually gives me goosebumps. IT'S REAL. Oh boy. Hold on to your hats, friends.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR7OxFa9D_I[/youtube]