Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Run Fast for Your Mother, Run Fast for Your Father

I just got back from vacation here:


Palm trees! Sun! Flat runs at sea level! Okay, so it was one run in the 4 days I was gone, even though I had scheduled two.

A week ago this past Friday, I had one of the best runs of my life. I didn’t want to go out and run. It was one of those gray, kind of damp 50-degree days where I couldn’t ever get warm. I ate too much for lunch and needed to run that afternoon. I wanted to cocoon on the couch and not do anything. I wanted to feel sorry for my lazy self and eat candy bars. Not run 6-8 miles.

But then I thought about a patient I had met that morning. 7 years old and the doctors told the family there was nothing more they could do. 7 years old and he told his mom that he was “ready to go” and that he was looking forward to seeing his grandfather. I shed tears over my black bean soup at lunch with my husband relating that story. So I decided to run for him. 7 years old, 7 miles that he would never run.

I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. It was perfect running weather despite my inability to warm up earlier that day. The fall leaves crunched beneath my feet. The sun tried to peak out from the dense clouds. I tore down my regular path, and it felt easy. One mile for every year of his life, for little boys who shouldn’t be dying, for his parents and brother who I would serve communion to on Sunday. I prayed and ran and thanked God for the blood pumping through my healthy heart and lungs and legs as I powered up hills. I cried and sang along to music. I felt like I could keep going forever except that I was getting a little thirsty so I ended it at 7. Lucky number 7.

That run I hadn’t wanted to do? One of the best I’ve ever had. I felt lighter, all of my joy and sadness released through the pavement.

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