I went for a run today. It was my typical lunch-time run: about three miles. I ran alone. When I got back to the building where I work, I saw two co-workers who were finishing a similar daily run. We exchanged hellos and observed that it was a perfect day for running: 50º and overcast. Yes, runners have an odd sense of ideal weather. We walked inside to the locker room together, and Patrick said something about a time he was almost hit by a car when he was running. It was an early morning run, and the sky was dark, but he was wearing a day-glo yellow shirt and headlamp. He saw that the driver was looking at their smart phone, more concerned with Facebook than watching the road. Outrageous. Those of us who run on a regular basis have had close calls with inattentive drivers. Most of the time, it’s just a story we tell. Close call, crazy driver. No harm, no foul. Most of the time.
Another runner is being recognized as I write this. A friend of a friend went out for her long run last Friday morning. She was getting ready for a marathon. It was her last long run before starting the taper. It was early, and it was dark, so she wore reflective clothing and carried a flashlight. She got hit by a car. She died. Her funeral was tonight.
I didn’t know her – as I said, she was a friend of a friend – but I have learned a bit about her, and a couple of things are very clear: she was dearly loved by many, and she made an impact in many lives. She was a teacher by trade and by personality. As an elementary school teacher, she had the opportunity to shape young minds, to help kids discover their talents and learn how to learn. As a runner, a serious runner with many marathon notches in her belt, she inspired people. From the people in the spin class at the gym she visited to a little girl who ran their first 5K because Ms. Higgins said she could do it, Amy made a difference.
I take my daily run for granted. It’s no big deal; just another few miles of abusing the sidewalks. My run is for me and, so far, I always get home safe. But I can’t take it for granted today, because tomorrow is not promised.
In general, I tend to think too much. When I get emotional, it can get messy. I’m going to share the thoughts swirling around my head and heart today. Forgive me if I go off the proverbial rails:
1. To my many running friends, my fellow road warriors, I love you. Please be careful out there.
2. To Amy Higgins’ friends and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s clear she was a beautiful person who made an enormous difference in the lives of many. I wish you peace.
3. To everyone who reads this, I encourage you to like what you like. Deeply. Your passion for what you love matters to others. Mostly we’re all so caught up in our own shit that we don’t pay attention to others, but once in a while our attention is drawn to someone who is really good at what they do. They have an interesting hobby. It might be something quirky, something we wouldn’t do ourselves. It’s cool. It’s admirable, and it makes us think about whether we should give it a try, or why we wouldn’t because we’re a different kind of person. We grow a little. You can make that difference in someone else’s life. You can be like Amy.
Hugs to all, as Amy would say.