Today marked the second full year that I’ve run at least a mile every day. 731 days. That puts me at #366 on the Official USA Active Running Streak List.
I started my streak on 11/27/2011, but my motivation for committing to it came a couple of days later when my uncle Frank called to tell me he couldn’t run with me as planned, because he was at the hospital. I decided right then that I would run every day until he could join me. Frank ended up being diagnosed with cancer and was never able to run with me again. I decided to keep my promise as long as I can anyway, and I think about him and others I miss every day at the beginning of my run. Recently, my aunt Betty gave me some of Frank’s cold-weather running things, and I’m happy to get some more use out of them. I was warmer today than I would have been otherwise, thanks to Frank (and Betty).
It’s strange how and why we grow close to people. My mom was one of 13 kids, so I have a lot of aunts and uncles on that side of the family. I’m closer to some than others. I wasn’t particularly close to Frank until 2006, when I started running longer distances. Our family reunion was always at my grandma’s rustic cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which was about 7 miles from Lake Michigan. Every year, Frank would run to the lake. Everybody thought he was crazy, but not me. After crossing the 7 mile threshold earlier that year, I couldn’t wait for the reunion to join him on that run.
As it happened, the day before the reunion, I told Paula I was filing for divorce, so a 3-year-old Gus and I went up and camped together. I was unbelievably raw and on the verge of a breakdown, but the love of my whole family held me up and kept me going. Frank and I connected on that run in a way I never expected. He prayed for me and opened up to me and became my friend. Before long, he was my best running buddy, and he even gave me coaching that helped me to a great marathon run a couple of months later. The infusion of love that Frank and my big family gave me that weekend in the summer of 2006 convinced me to love my way through the challenges in my marriage, and miraculously, we kept our little family together. One Day At A Time.
Frank and I ran often until that day he called me a couple of years ago. God I miss him, but I’m so happy that we got to know each other. I will keep that memory going a mile at a time for as long as I can put one foot in front of the other.
We just lost my aunt Mary, and we lost Barb a couple of years ago as well. I’ll see the rest of my aunts and uncles and numerous cousins over the holidays, and I’ll hug them and wish I knew them a little better.