Running is a Friend

This week has been a funky one at Kay Nou.  Everyone has been feeling under the weather.  We’ve had a bit of the stomach bug, headaches, runny noses, sore throats and a few restless nights.

Today was my worst day of the week.  My throat felt drier and drier as the day progressed.  I came home feeling like I had sand in the back of my throat. A headache threatened to rear it’s ugly head all day, but never quite came to pass.

A brief thought passed through my mind.  A lot of people would probably opt to rest on the couch after a day like today.  Nah, not me! I like the t-shirt that reads, “I run today because tomorrow I might not be able to.”  I figured I’d head out for my scheduled four miles.  I could assess along the way how I felt.  I could always turn around if I didn’t feel up to finishing the miles.

It was a balmy 48 degrees when I arrived at Kay Nou after school.  I put on a headband, rather than a hat.  I wore light gloves and a light jacket.  The roads were snow and ice free. That is such a nice treat after this long winter we’ve been having.

I loaded up one of my favorite podcasts, “The Extra Mile Podcast”, onto my ipod. This is kind of an open mic podcast.  Anyone can call in with training updates and race reports.  I’ve called in once or twice.  I really enjoy hearing about other people’s running around the country and the world.  There are regular contributors and sporadic ones.  All are enjoyable.

I was behind a few episodes, so some recordings were from December and January.  In the first episode I listened to, Kevin, the moderator, said that the winter months are slow for submissions.  It was a shorter episode of only about 25 minutes.  A normal episode is generally about an hour.

The second episode wasn’t even called an episode.  It was a poignant 11 minute piece presented only by Kevin without the call ins.  He recorded it on January 11th.

Kevin’s mother had been in declining health over the past few years.  He received a call on January 10th from a hospice nurse saying his mother had taken a turn for the worse.  The nurse was calling to say his mother had a day or two left.

Kevin drove to his hometown in Ohio, 3 1/2 hours away from where he lives now.  He spent the afternoon and overnight hours next to his mother’s bedside.  She died a little after 7 am.

Kevin went on to say that later that morning he felt the need to go for a run.  He was actually recording a few hours after his mother died.  The way he described running struck a chord with me.  He said that running is one of his best friends.

I thought, “Wow!  Yes!  That’s exactly how it feels.”  I never thought of running like that.  Running, even by yourself, is like being with a friend.  You have time to think, talk to yourself, mull over problems and issues and take comfort in the freedom to be alone with yourself.  In some ways you are forcing yourself to spend time listening to your innermost thoughts.

I was able to completely relate to Kevin’s need to go for a run after his mother’s death.  As I have said before, I came to more serious running during the time when my mother was dying.  The Major called it my grief counseling.  I’ve been running ever since.

I went out not sure what my run would be like today.  I started at home not feeling 100%.  I ended my run empathizing with a fellow runner, whom I have never met.  He caused me to reflect on my friendship with running.  I ran strong and didn’t have any of my prior symptoms.

Back at home, my sore throat is as raw as it was before my run.  I don’t know what it is, but there is a little bit of magic that comes from running.

–Running Girl


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