About That Running Thing

The Run for the Cure is tomorrow morning. I'll be walking.

When I said that I planned to run, I meant it. I really did. I had a training plan. I bought new shoes. I hit the trail. I put one foot in front of the other. Calling it running might have been a bit of a stretch. It was more of a jog than a run but I was there.

I did it for two weeks. I got up that Saturday and did the last run of week 2 of my training. I had every intention of running Monday morning. At least I did until the phone rang at 9:30 that night.

Our phone hardly ever rings. After years of conference calls we rarely talk on the phone just to talk on the phone. Usually the only people that call are our parents or our friends asking us to pick up something on the way over to their place for dinner. When the phone rings at 9:30 on a Saturday night and it's not my in-laws we know it's not good news.

It wasn't.

Our friend Carol had died. She had been fighting cancer for close to two years. Her fight was going as well as anyone could hope but a complication arose. It was treated but her body, after chemo and radiation, could not handle the stress of surgery. And she left us.

I did what I do in times of stress. I cooked food that I didn't eat. We had friends over for dinner on Sunday, so that we could all be sad together. I know I ate then. I couldn't tell you what else I ate in the following few days.

Little by little it sunk in that I'd never hear Carol laugh again. She had a fantastic laugh. It wasn't a conversation with Carol until she had slapped her hand on a table and let loose with that laugh. I will remember her laugh long after I've forgotten the sound of her voice. Each time I remembered her laughter that first week I got a little bit sadder. Each time I got a little sadder my appetite disappeared a little bit more.

No food means no fuel. While running, I'm sure, would have been cathartic I could not do it. I will not exercise when I know I haven't eaten. Because I've been down this path of not eating so many times I know that it takes days, if not weeks, for me to get back to where I was. It wasn't until a week later, after the funeral, that I really got back to a normal eating schedule. It was mid-September before I could even think about starting to run again.

And so I'll walk. I'll walk and look at the runners enviously and think that some day I will do that too. Some day when I'm stronger and fueled and trained. Some day it will be me.