LENTEN BLOG #18
For about ten years, I was faithful to one running partner.
Misty, a Labrador/Chow mix arrived on my Washington, DC doorstep one snowy day in the middle of February. I took her to the veterinarian, placed signs around the neighborhood and called the local Humane Society to find out if anyone had lost a black puppy about 4 months old. After receiving no response, Misty had found her home. As she grew, we covered many miles as best friends and running partners.
Over the years, we ran through Rock Creek Park, circled numerous neighborhoods, and maneuvered the National Mall and DC’s bustling 16th street. We dodged bikes, crossed busy streets and waved at fellow runners.
It was our time. My time to exhale from the day. Misty’s time to listen. Running has a way of adjusting the focus of life’s lens, making the world seem more crisp, more profound, more accessible.
Some days Misty would squeeze sprints in as she dashed after squirrels or chipmunks. She ran with a purpose and always pushed me (or pulled me) to keep up. Although her sniffing breaks broke our stride, Misty and I were never aiming to set our PR together.
We just ran, because running brings a healthy void. A place where our mental oversized baggage (which never fits in the overhead bin) somehow becomes lighter with each step.
When I was expecting our daughter, I was initially hesitant to run with such precious cargo, but after reading about the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, I knew running would continue to be a priority in my life. So for six months, our baby, Misty and I enjoyed running together. As my energy waned and stomach grew, our runs turned to walks.
Then I became a mom. A mom to a beautiful, loving baby. When she smiled her eyes twinkled, nose wrinkled and chin dimpled. “She’s going to be a runner,” I thought. She’d have a good laugh at that today.
I continued to run. Misty and I ran on Saturdays when she would stop to sniff a mystery spot or sprint towards a squirrel. My daughter and I ran at home, kind of. I ran on the treadmill while she rested in her crib or sat in her bouncy chair. She watched her musical mobile, which I managed to keep going, by jumping off the treadmill every 4 minutes or so to rewind it.
I said it was a long time ago.
Since then, my husband slows his pace and joins me for a run and at least one of our boys runs the traditional Thanksgiving 5K or 10K with me. Our sweet dogs have found their “inner Misty” as I call it and they pull me along on runs as well. My daughter, now a strong swimmer, makes amazing signs, cheers us on, and laughs way too hard when I ask her to run with me.
Misty has been gone for years now and I miss her dearly. But I’ve never stopped running and pray I’ll always have the drive, strength, knees and sweet Misty memories to help me RUN ON.