Thursday, February 23, 2017

Given that my previous post was almost two whole months ago, this is an obvious question. One that becomes more obvious and relevant since Sunday. See, a lot actually has been going on and although most of what I’m about to post has almost nothing to do with running (which is kind of the point of this website), it has almost everything to do with running.

They say life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I know a thing or two about running marathons, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that it’s true. The twists and turns and highs and lows of running 26.2 miles are a perfect analogy to the journey of life. Assuming I live to be 92 (and that’s a stretch) I’ve just passed the halfway point. If life truly is anything like a marathon, well, the race has just begun. The hardest miles lie ahead. At least sometimes it feels that way.

Maybe the best way to get at this is to pick up where I left off. When I last wrote here, I was entering what I called the winter doldrums. In truth, it’s not been all that bad temperature-wise. And with only one snow event to speak of, life on the Eastern Shore is well. Darkness continues to envelope the early morning’s and although it’s staying lighter out later in the afternoon it’s also still dark on that side of the day. But with March nearly here, hope resides just upon the horizon, and perhaps my shift back to morning running won’t be far behind.

So the question still stands. I won’t try to catch up on the past two months in totality, but obviously the holiday season came and went along with the start to a new year. As far as running goes, my mileage is down from the past few years, but there is a very good reason for that. Plus, it’s still early. There is plenty of calendar left in 2017 to turn it up, which I’m certain I will do. For starters, I gained entry into the 2017 Chicago Marathon. I have many fond memories of the Chicago Marathon, having qualified for Boston there in 2009. And yet, I yearn for a return trip to New York City. Despite my entry guaranteed into the Windy City race, I have also submitted my entry into the lottery for the New York City Marathon and will find out whether or not I get in on March 2. There is a large part of me that is still very disappointed with my performance there in November and I am certain that now knowing the lay of the land I will be able to adjust my training and beat that 4:20.

In addition to coasting through the past couple of months along the roads (and on treadmills), a lot of my time has been spent writing. Obviously not here. I have begun my doctoral program, and now that I’ve just finished my very first class (tonight), this type of writing actually feels weird. I’ve gotten used to sourcing and synthesizing my thoughts by backing up my opinions. Here, that is neither necessary, nor the purpose. Feels weird; but it’s kind of nice. The reality is my posts may be fewer and further in between given the rigors of the program. However, I won’t let this site die and I truly hope to be a little more consistent than every other month. If you’re a regular reader, please accept my apologies.

In addition, I write tonight about the end of a race. That race was against the clock. If you’ve been a regular reader you know that our greyhound Jasmine was battling cancer. We discovered the mass that inevitably cost her her life just over a year ago. It is amazing to us that she survived as long as she did, and I will forever remember her spirit and her desire to live. I truly believe that’s what got her through it. Unfortunately over the weekend she took a turn for the worse and it was something we felt would only get worse and the time had come. Jasmine becomes the fifth greyhound we’ve lost, but she spent nearly 8 years with us, living in all three of the houses we’ve owned and spent countless hours with me driving back and forth from Pennsylvania to Maryland. Her lasting legacy for me will forever be the fact that she saved me at a time when I really needed her. When I first moved to the Eastern Shore I made that 5-hour trip every week by myself for the first 4-5 months. Over the final 9 months Jasmine joined me not only for the ride back to Maryland but was the comforting companion in the house. Her presence was immediately felt by me and she comforted me. She saved me. Saved me from loneliness I can’t even describe and gave me a reason to come home from work during those very difficult months.

Sunday was a horrible day. It was the day we had to say goodbye. I know she was ready, but we weren’t. We did the right thing, but that warmth and feeling and presence that she gave our house when she first started coming here with me is now gone. And it’s equally noticeable. Sure, we still have Sam, but the energy and the personality that girl gave this house is noticeably gone. A huge void exists in our home and in our hearts, but her spirit will live on forever. I can envision the day when we will meet again at the rainbow bridge. Free from pain, free from discomfort, free from cancer. I’m quite sure she will be running to greet us with her back end wiggling, and a cute little smile on her face, as she’ll be wondering, “Where’ve you been?”

Run on…

One of my favorite pictures of her

This is how I wanna remember her

Too early to be on the beach (for her).

She always loved laying on her back.

This IS a runner’s blog. She always wore my medals.

And every now and then, Christmas lights.

Speaking of Christmas. She LOVED opening presents.

Loved walking with her Doofus Duck

LOVED people…

Did I mention that face?

Bucket list trip to Cape May on the ferry.

She made it.

She would last almost a whole year, but I was missing her already.

When she first came to us, she was just a baby…

Look how dark her face was.

Another of her favorite positions. Always on a couch…

Her time was running out. I love this picture of my girls. But I also hate it.

Ready to go. She went peacefully, on a couch, laying just like she had always done. We were thankful to comfort her in her final moments. Until we meet again…