That was thirty-eight years ago.
A few months ago, I agreed to run my first half marathon, the Canyonlands Half Marathon in Moab, Utah, with my friend Willis Van Gogh. With a hard winter and bad health, I wasn't able to train as well as I could have. Never the less, the only way out of this half marathon was: if I was bleeding ( I mean hemorrhaging) , broken (bones to be more specific) or I was on fire. Come hell or high water, I was going to do this. I didn't care what time I got, how good or how bad I did; I wanted to start the run and finish it.
Willis Van Gogh and I drove to Moab last night; Moab is a good 250 miles from where I live. As we were trying to get to her friends house where we stayed for the night, my phone rang.
It was the phone call I have expected but didn't expect.
"Dad's in the hospital and he isn't coming home this time," RD explained to me. "I am on my way home."
I have known Ron for 18 years now. He and his family have always been good family friends. RD and I dated in high school. Ron and his wife Pat, have taken care of us and they took care of my mother. Through no fault of theirs, the were given a difficult task... I can't share what but I will cherish that moment that Ron, Pat and I held each other as we cried with one another. They bore my burdens with me. The only way I can describe them is simple: they are angels sent by God, for me.
As RD and I talked last night on the phone, I told him what I was running a half marathon the next day.
His reply: "What in the hell are you doing?"
"I don't know," I answered. "I have been asking myself that same question for the last couple of months."
"Well, run it for Dad," he said.
And that is what I did.
I ran it for Ron... one of my angels who showed me that we can overcome; how to truly bear one anothers burdens; how to have a sense of humor and how to laugh. He showed me how one major heart attack, the loss of a leg, being on dialysis for the last 6 years and many doctors trusting facts and numbers telling them that he should be dead, doesn't mean that you cannot live a full and meaningful life. That thirty eight years later... the doctors were wrong.
I ran it for me... I ran this half marathon to overcome. I have a laundry list of health issues (fibromyalgia, asthma, etc) and I just ran 13.1 miles! (My time was 3:12:38) No matter what obstacles I have, I can overcome them. And I can have a wonderful life. I could not have run this without a great running partner and friend by my side; and I could not have made it through some of the darkest times of my life without Ron and Pat by my side.
As I got ready for my run, I wrote on my leg: For RON
Today I ran for Ron.
Today I ran for me.
Today I ran for life.