Debbi Meyer is a nurse, a runner, and a mother to three boys (ages 12, 17, and 18) who lives in Pocatello, Idaho. She started running in 2008 to sculpt her body into a runners body. This year, she runs to remember her Dad, who died unexpectedly at the beginning of 2017.
This is her story.
I started running when I was challenged by a friend, Jill, who I was always jealous of. She would talk about running and I would always tell her “I think the runner’s body is so beautiful. I would love to be able just to run.” I don’t even know why. I didn’t run in high school or anything. Jill said, “well why don’t you try?” So she challenged me to do the Pocatello Marathon 10K with her. I went out and trained and that’s what made me start running. Jill didn’t realize she was creating a monster – although I never did get the runner’s body that I was supposed to get.
I don’t even know how many races I’ve done. I’ve completed two full marathons plus the Ogden Marathon last year where I had to drop out in the middle. I love the feel of being at a start line and a finish line with all of those runners. The training is not my favorite but the rest of the racing I love. My husband races, too, and so do my children.
For the last several years, I’ve run the Sawtooth Relay. It’s through the Sawtooth Mountains here in Idaho and it’s beautiful. It’s a 62-mile relay. I run with five other women (one of them is Jill), all mother runners as well. We have the best time ever. We laugh from beginning to the end. I love it.
Our team has to supply at least one volunteer. The first time we ran it, I asked my parents to come. My Dad was a little bit iffy. He didn’t know if he wanted to put in the time. He was at the first exchange that year. When I stopped to talk to him after I finished the first leg, he said, “I’ll be here next year and I’ve got my fishing spot picked out.” Every year after that, he'd be at the first exchange and I never had to worry about who my volunteer was going to be.
This would have been his 4th year. My parents would pull a camp trailer and put it in the campground that was about half a mile away from the first exchange. As soon as his four hours as a volunteer were up, he would go and fish. He’d make sure he was at the finish line when we came through.
My Dad passed away on January 9. We’re having a horrible winter here in Idaho. He was shoveling his roof off and he fell.
My dad was a strong, stoic and quiet man who loved his family to no end, but the thing I loved most about him was how incredibly calming his presence was. When my life seemed to be spinning out of control I could sit down next next to him and often, without a word, he would put his big strong hand on my shoulder and my worries would fade away, at least for a while. His high school English teacher told my cousin that my dad was the true embodiment of "still waters run deep." The overwhelming theme of the tributes given at his funeral was his ability to make others feel at peace. In this very difficult time I now have to learn how to self-soothe.
My tribute to my dad will be to find peace in running. To find the quietness in my soul that I depended very heavily on him to give me. I will also honor him this year by running and finishing my last full marathon on his birthday, October 29.
But first I'm going to run the Sawtooth Relay. When I run into the first exchange point, I hope to honor my dad by taking a deep breath and feel the calm peacefulness that I felt when his hand was on my shoulder.
And I don’t know, maybe I’ll fish.