Everyone reacts differently when faced with personal tragedy.
This week, I've watched a lot of people show an incredible amount of strength in the face of insurmountable difficulty, and I cannot put into words how incredibly proud I have been of all of them.
In the midst of it all, I've felt essentially useless, which, I'm told, is pretty much how everyone else feels, too. Because of personal commitments, I was unable to stay with my family as long as I would have liked, but they are, and will be, on my mind and in my heart.
What I have found most interesting throughout this week has been finding all the unexpected things that have given me comfort. Of course, there are all the basic things that help: the touch of friends and family, the feel of your own bed, eating a hot meal. But what really caught my attention have been little things that I didn't expect. The feeling of shoes with laces as opposed to slip-ons. The water pressure in my own shower. And running.
I didn't run much this week. In fact, I missed both Monday and Wednesday's runs. It has been hard to find the motivation to do anything for more than a few minutes at a time, which is strange, because half the time I found myself sitting around wishing for something to do. Even the effort of getting ready for a run seemed trivial and unnecessary, and as a result, I didn't really get out on the road.
Until Tuesday. I was sitting around trying to get my mind back on work when I realized that I'd been sitting motionless for over ten minutes. Without thinking about it, I went to my bag and threw on my running clothes.
I quickly mapped out a four and a five mile course (since those were the two distances I would have to do while up north) and headed out the door. The first thing I noticed was how thin the air felt, in a good way. Without the oppressive humidity of a Texas summer, I barely noticed the weather at all. I started running without much thought and I fell into a comfortable pace fairly quickly.
As it turned out, I made a wrong turn because of some odd roadwork, but I figured it out fairly quickly, and decided instead to just run by time. Since I was supposed to run 4 miles, I ran out for 16 minutes, feeling fairly sure that I was under an 8-minute pace. When I hit that time, I turned around and headed back. As I neared my starting point, I let my speed increase until I was at a full-tilt run, something I hardly ever do. My return path was actually a minute faster than my out.
So, I returned to the computer and checked my distance. Instead of running 4 miles, I'd run nearly five. And I'd run them fast.
Running is one of the only things at which I have truly excelled. Even in the worst of times, it can occupy my mind. There's an old bumper sticker that has become somewhat cliched, but it says that, "Running is cheaper than therapy." You don't realize how true that is until you need it. When all you have to worry about is your next step, it's easy to let yourself escape, even for a little while.
I still can't wrap my mind around everything. The outpouring of support has been... there isn't really a word to describe it. And with all that's going on, I find it very difficult to think about running a marathon in just about a week. But run it I shall.
And I'll run it for him. For her. For them.
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