Jimmy’s Lessons: Just Show Up and Run

By Melissa Moriarty (@melissakaymoriarty)

SSG James “Jimmy” F. Moriarty, 27, was killed in action in Jordan on November 4, 2016. Born and raised in Houston, he attended the University of Texas where he majored in economics and was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2011, where he successfully made it through Qualification Course to become a Green Beret and member of the elite 5th Special Forces Group, based in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. An avid runner and Ragnar alum, proud Longhorn and even prouder Army soldier, he is survived by his sisters Rebecca Moriarty and Melissa Moriarty, and his parents, Cindy Moriarty and James R. Moriarty.

Back in September we created a video compilation of birthday wishes for my dad’s 70th birthday. My brother Jimmy’s message to him that day was this, “One of the most important things you have taught me, Dad, is that there are two rules in life: The first is to show up and the second is to show up on time.”

When you tragically lose someone, like we lost Jimmy back in November, so many things go through your mind following the loss. A big one for some people is guilt.

I have some of that.

Early last year my sister Becca reached out to see if I wanted to run a 24-hour relay race with her, Jimmy and some of his friends. It’s called Ragnar. I really wanted to see Jimmy, because he would only be home briefly in between deployments, but then I started to get the details about the race.

I soon learned the race is 24 hours long and each runner is assigned anywhere between 10-20 miles. I also learned that you run through the night without sleep and that you share a van with stinky dudes.

I was living in Colombia at the time, so I would have to book an international flight and I also wasn’t feeling like I was in top shape … and there started the excuses. I wanted to see my brother before he deployed, but I knew I would see him again soon, so I thought to myself, “I couldn’t make it work … personally, financially, whatever.”

Correction. I didn’t make it work … personally, financially, whatever.

I could have and I wish I did, because that would’ve been the last time I saw Jimmy and it would’ve been one hell of an amazing way to spend our last time together.

Instead, the last time I got to be with Jimmy was at my grandma’s funeral in October 2015. Saying that makes me cringe.

Some days I get really angry at myself about it, but I try to stop those thoughts because they aren’t productive or healthy. I am human. I err. I know when I need to take it easy on myself, so I try my hardest. But it’s time to stop making excuses and I will never make the same mistake again.

When my sister mentioned the idea of doing the Ragnar race this year — this time in Jimmy’s memory — I told her I would be there no matter what. I didn’t make excuses. Even though I still don’t like to share vans with stinky dudes, I still like my beauty rest and I still don’t feel like I’m in peak running shape, I will make it work no matter what.

So here we are. We are packing into two vans tomorrow, all 14 of us, and our team name is Jimmy’s Longhorn Legionaries. I am running the race alongside my 70-year-old dad (!!), my sister and nine of Jimmy’s best friends. Ah! And I can’t forget the two brave souls who volunteered to drive our vans, also Jimmy’s best of friends.

Most everything in life is possible and/or feasible if you make it work … if you make the time … if you put in the effort. If you simply show up.

I wish I had shown up last year but instead of being so hard on myself, I will take this lesson forward and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

I’ll be there for all the important, and even not so important, moments. I’ll always say “yes” to the opportunity to create lifelong memories. I’ll show up.

So in Jimmy’s wise words, show up, and it doesn’t hurt if you show up on time, too.

Our team will be posting photos of our 200-mile trek through the Texas Hill Country, starting this Friday morning through Saturday afternoon. We would love to have you follow along!

Melissa, Jimmy and their dad after a race.

Melissa and her Ragnar team will be taking over the Garmin Instagram page. Follow their race at https://www.instagram.com/garmin/ or with #forjimmy.