"Are you really going to run 80 miles every week?" my Dad asked me when I showed him my new marathon plan.

"You think that's too much?" I smiled as my father laughed.

"When would you possibly find the time?"

"I'm just going to get up a little earlier. Like 3 AM instead of 5 AM," I said. And because my dad is who he is, he didn’t shake his head and tell me I was crazy. He didn't say it couldn't be done. That it shouldn't be done. That it wasn't the right time to do it.

"I want to qualify for the Boston marathon and the NYC marathon. I'll find a way to do it."

My father nodded like he had when I told him I was applying early decision to University of Pennsylvania, like he had when I told him I met the man I wanted to marry, and like he had nodded when I told him we were moving to Israel. All those times he had nodded and simply asked: How can I help you? This moment was no exception.

"3 AM may be a dangerous time for you to run by yourself for three hours. I'll tell you what, I'm going to pace you on a bike for your long runs," my dad said.

"But Dad, you don't have a bike, and you haven't biked in 20 years!"

"So I'll get one," he said. "Maybe I can be your coach like I was for your basketball team. Remember how we won the championships?"

"You’re going to ride your bike on my 23-mile runs at three in the morning?"

My dad nodded. "But I think we'll need a couple of headlamps. I'll order them."

"And a bike, Dad. You'll need to get a bike."

I really didn't think we’d actually follow through with this plan until the morning we showed up at the Farmington Canal in Connecticut with the moon overhead, the stars peeking out from the branches of the trees and the only light emanating from our headlamps. It was terrifying at first. Suddenly I began to question my own sanity. There were the sounds of animals everywhere – frogs, deer and birds and then a huge sound in the forest. Were there bears here?

I followed the light on my father's bike and drank in the awe-filled silence of the world before dawn. But I was afraid. Afraid of the darkness, afraid of the animals, afraid of my own goals and the miles and miles of steps that I would need to reach them. But just like I did when I was a little girl, I looked up and saw the quiet confidence in my father's eyes. He believes in me, he still believes in me, I whispered to myself.

The sky began to light up with the first hint of dawn. The sun rose through the trees like slivers of hope, quiet beams of faith. Like a father's love for his daughter. No questions asked. No plan too crazy. No dream out of reach. My fear dissipated into that sunrise. I looked up at my dad and thought: I can run these miles. I can live this life. I can become who I want to be. Because of you, Dad. Because you always believed in me, and still do.

And because you show up, even now when I am all grown up with a family of my own. You show up at three in the morning, on a bike you haven't rode on in decades. You show up like you have shown up my whole life, quietly and calmly and with headlamps in your arms.

During the marathon, you set up a huge American flag halfway through the course and throw me a water bottle as I run past. "That's my daughter!" I hear you say to the people around you. When I am only a few miles from the finish line, I want to give up. Every step hurts, every breath is pain. Tears are streaming into the sweat on my face. Then I think about our pre-dawn runs and I hear your voice: Training doesn't lie. You don't always get what you want, but you will get what you train for. I think about the light on your bike that dispelled my fears, and the light in your eyes that has lifted me up since I was a little girl. How it carried me through the darkness and showed me a way forward.

I don't give up. Instead I push aside the pain and run faster. Fast enough to cross the finish line 20 minutes ahead of my goal. You are the first person I look for.

"Dad! I qualified! I can't believe it!" I shout when I find you.

And your smile lights up your face as you nod and ask, "Ok, kiddo. What's next?"