Why I Run

Why I Run

In June of 2010, I ran the Casper Marathon; it wasn’t my first marathon, nor would it be my last. But it will probably be my most memorable marathon because my son, Kolton, and my Dad were both at the finish line to greet me when I finished. My Dad died in October of that year, and my son committed suicide in July of 2011. Neither one of them will ever see me finish another marathon. Not in person. But each time I run a marathon, I feel their spirit. And their spirits carry me.

I can’t ever imagine running a marathon, or any race, without thinking about Kolton. In fact, there isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think about him, when I don’t think about his warm and loving spirit. He was a joy to my life. But so are my two lovely daughters, Rickie and Bailey. They inspire me in ways that I cannot adequately describe, and I love them deeply. In so many ways, I am blessed. I won’t languish in sorrow, no, my life is too busy and challenging. And I will continue to run marathons until I can no longer drag one foot after another. But even then, when I put my mind to it, I will run; nothing will stop me.

Nothing stops any of us, not really. We stop because we choose to stop. This has always puzzled me. Why? Why do we choose to stop? Why do we put up road blocks to our own journeys? There have been times when I haven’t felt like going on, I won’t deny this. But the fact that I don’t have to go on is always enough to push me forward. I am never going to stop. It is a strange trick that I play on myself. And it serves me well during my marathons, when at mile 20, when I can no longer feel my legs, I say to myself, who needs legs? And at mile 23, when I feel as if I’m dragging hundred pound sandbags behind me, I simply laugh when I look back to see that there is nothing but the wind pushing me onward. I have found a way to convince myself that pain is only an invisible weight that each of us carries around with him. Why do we find it necessary to carry this weight? It is a reminder of our shortcomings and vulnerability. We want to suffer under the weight of our own vulnerability, when in reality we aren’t vulnerable at all. We live and, in time, we die. It’s that simple. Nothing weighs us down except our own need to believe that we are transient, that we exist for such a short time, and this time is measured by our pain and suffering. But this is where we are mistaken: we aren’t transient, not in the least. We are energy that will continue to fly along the wildest edge of the universe. And when I’m running, when my body is finished, when my heart is screaming, and my legs are filled with lead, this is when I begin to soar, this is when I allow my energy to seek the wildest edge of the universe.

I am running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Denver on Sunday, October 18. Kolton’s passionate spirit will be by my side, and wonderful thoughts of my two amazing daughters will give me wings. Rickie was always the angel, and always intervened when the fierier Kolton and Bailey stood toe to toe in territorial battle. Rickie’s angelic demeanor would cast a soothing spell over the fierce battle. But it would never end there, no, because the diabolical Kolton and Bailey, after the battle had been allayed by Rickie’s calming influence, would conspire to thwart Rickie’s cleverness next time. I always enjoyed witnessing these enchanting confrontations, because I knew that they were always in fun. They all loved each other deeply. And Rickie and Bailey continue to love each other and keep their hearts open to Kolton. His fiery spirit is always with them, always pushing them onward.

And anyone watching the marathon next Sunday will be able to pick me out because, at mile 23, I will be laughing as I look behind me to see the hundred pound sandbags have been cut free and only the wind is pushing me onward. In my heart, though, I’ll know that there is more than just the wind pushing me onward, much more.




Leave a Reply