Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why I Will Never Run Alone Again...

It's been a while i know.  It's been an insane and crazy couple of months.  But I've had my running to keep me sane through it all.  Until now.

First, two days before Christmas, my FIL passed away rather suddenly.  He had been in frail health for a while but when we saw him at Thanksgiving, he seemed to be better and even "peppy".  But I'll share that whole story much later, when I'm able.

Chris and his parents

During the week that followed his passing, the sanity of running was able to help my husband and me stay focused, united and a little less stressed.  Don't get me wrong, dealing with the passing of a parent (whether it be yours or your spouses) takes it horrible toll on oneself and emotions are quickly set one edge.  However, being able to run together in peace and harmony was always the time we knew we could escape and just be.  I've always known that but this is the time that my husband discovered the comfort of a run.

As soon as the holidays were over, I headed off to teach a few workshops at Perkins School of Youth MInistry and managed to find a gym where I could run safely every day.  Again, this keeps me sane and focused, as I balanced teaching and coordinating our upcoming 6 weekend events. Which would start the day after I got home from Perkins.

But during the midst of these events, another tragedy hit.  No one I know personally.  But has had a pretty large effect on how I look at running these days.

Fellow blogging friend (someone I aspire to being more like)SUAR (you can find her blog here).  Usually SUAR is funny, gassy, and inspiring.  I can always count on her for words of wisdom and sarcasm (sometimes I think we are twins separated at birth, but then I realize how much taller she is and that totally ruins that thought). But recently, a tragedy hit her family and little did I realize that it would change my running forever.

For the whole story, you can catch it here.

I don't even know Sherry.  But I do know:

  • I love a good road run.  I prefer it with the Perfect Pacer but he's not always available.  So I often run by myself.  On a secluded road.  By myself.  

This is my favorite, secluded, albeit creepy road.

  • I have been asked numerous times by PP to stop this.  
  • I ran the other night by myself.  In the dark (as nights are).  PP was not pleased.  (I was - I had a super fast time - which is probably because I was scared the whole way).  
  • I love my PP.  I love my family.  I love my friends.  

My oldest, my middle, and the grand.

Since sharing Sherry's story with PP, he has made it clear that he doesn't want me running alone.  Especially on the secluded road which I seem to adore so much (I will admit - it is creepy out there).

Perfect Pacer (aka PP)

Since Sherry's story, I have made sure to tell every female runner I know about her and why we can no longer run alone.  I have made sure to find partners who will run with me (yes, even down my creepy secluded road) and I have lowered my expectations.  I know that most of my female friends don't like to run as long or as hard as I do, so I'm trying to simply enjoy the time together, and enjoy the road.  I'm not setting any PBs - I'm just getting it done.

The later used to annoy the poop out of me (ode to SUAR).  But I'm having to redefine why I run, how I run and when I run.  I know this will make me a better runner, and a better person.  It's painful though to realize that my evolutions are because of the loss of another runner.

I remembered crying the morning SUAR posted this.   PP and I were in the car heading to camp and I read it off my phone and just burst out crying.  He was perplexed.  After processing through it, I came to understand my mourning was because of the commonality I had with Sherry - a female runner, who often ran alone, never questioning the good or evil of those around.  I finally understood why my PP was so upset when I ran alone - especially at night on deserted roads.

So I implore my fellow runners and friends, to please make note of when you run, who you run with and where you run.  I also implore you to stay tuned here for updates on the virtual run for Sherry that will be upcoming soon.  Run for Sherry, for yourself and for those runners around us.
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