I don’t know how long I will be able to run, but I know why I started running in the first place. Trying to regain my strength and endurance again after being injured for several months, I was reminded why I started in the first place. It wasn’t because I wanted to watch the sunrise, but that is a nice bonus. It was because I could not run. It was because one night when I needed to run as fast as I could to get to my dying son, I could not run. Yes, I know the phenomenon of needing to hurry and feeling like you are stuck in quicksand, or your legs feel like they are not moving at all-sort of spinning in one place like a cartoon character, but this was different.
We were in church. We were standing next to our friends who’s son was also dying. We were singing, and I was clutching my phone. We had left our son in the PICU under the watchful eye of his grandmother. She called me. I scooted out of the room to be able to hear her-she was hysterical. Our son had a seizure and she was panicked; and his room was in full chaotic life saving mode. When your child is inpatient in the isolation room of the PICU and this happens, you run as fast as you can to get there. And that is what we did. Or tried to do. I. Could. Not. Run. I remember thinking, “ah hell no-no one out runs the mama when her child is sick! MOVE FASTER.” I. Could. Not. Run.
The child in PICU was an athlete. He loved to run. We used to talk about when he was better how we would get back into shape together. At that point, we were content doing laps in the hospital hallways. Now, here we were, he could not run, and I could not run.
He died. I began running. I kept my word and got into shape. Now, mind you, I do not consider myself a runner. A couple miles several times a week is my idea of running. I wish I could run. Believe me, there have been days I wanted to put on my sneakers and run all over the place like Forrest Gump, and never come back. For me, being able to run became my little slice of heaven where I talk to God and let the stress of life leave my body. So when an injury robbed me of this freedom last spring, I had to simply give in and let it go. Just like my son had to let go of his freedom to run.
So, here I am, trying to run again. I remember why I began running, and I ran with this thought the other morning as I chased a sunrise. I indulged my mind and heart in the memory of that horrific night days before my son died. My legs felt just as heavy as they did that night racing to get to my son. I realized, 14 years later, I have not forgotten why I began to run. But that morning, I realized it is important to know why I started, but its more important that I did not stop, and I keep going . It is one thing to start on a journey, it is another to stay the course of it.
I laughed out loud as I chugged along thinking of my oldest son and my youngest son. Laughed because I started to run because of the oldest one, and now my youngest son runs with me. Fourteen years later both sons make me laugh. I started running because of one, and now, the other has given me reason to run for a different reason. Zombies. Apparently they chase you. One son is a “ghost” who runs with me; the other son runs with me to keep me strong to outrun the “ghost”.
It is important to know why you start something, but its more important to know why you keep doing it.