A year ago, I decided not to run in the State Street Mile Masters’ Élite Category. It would have meant a serious disruption in Hal’s schedule – one that would have caused him great discomfort. Hal felt bad about this. So I promised him I would run the event this year. And that I would win it. When I made that promise, I really didn’t have any idea if I would be able to keep it. I only knew I would try.
Hal’s life ended August 28, 2014. The first two months after Hal died, my running became a calming solace. I was experiencing panic disorder, felt like I couldn’t breathe. I stayed up at night, lying awake in bed, heart racing. So I ran slowly. Very slowly. Slow, calming breaths. Melded with the rhythm.
In December I rediscovered trail running. A kind of running that Hal had been particularly good at. Me, not so much. But it felt right. Trees. Greenery. Dirt. rocks. Even some water. And it didn’t matter how slowly I ran. I was learning a new skill. I embraced nature. I met some new friends. And my panic disorder disappeared.
In February I started racing the roads again. For the first time in a long time, running fast felt good. I started to train. For races. Reconnected with old friends. And gradually I got faster.
As the State Street Mile approached, I remembered my promise to Hal. But I kept it to myself. Didn’t want to broadcast a promise that I couldn’t keep.
I ran the 2015 State Street Mile today. I was really lucky – the field was small, I was the oldest competitor, and the results were age-graded. Or maybe Providence was on my side. Whatever allowed it to happen, it did – I won my race. For Hal.
As I proceed on this journey through life, I hope to be able to continue to experience and enjoy the special gifts that running adds to my voyage: Companionship. Pure physical celebration. The majesty of Nature. Peace. In any case, I view it all now with a deeper sense of appreciation.