I am a man of good intentions. Yesterday I woke up at 5:30 AM and got all runner’d up in my running best- black, long pants from Costco, my old, light-blue running shorts that I think my dad gave to me, years and years ago, black socks, black shirt, a thicker black shirt for warmth, grey hat, black gloves. Just like they teach you in running school- if the cars can still see you, you’re not wearing enough black.
I have been getting up a little bit earlier, it’s true, but 5:30 is pretty extreme for even me. But my little 7 month-old niece, Gracie Page was having a heart and lung bypass to fix a part of her heart that needed to be patched. It’s a pretty big deal, when your infant goes in for something of that magnitude (I know, also from personal experience with my twin girls- but that’s another story…)
So I moved my schedule up so that I could fit a run in, before I made the one hour drive to Salt Lake City to be at Primary Children’s Hospital (top notch place, btw.) I drove down to the place where I figured I’d start. My goal was to run all the way around the hospital and loop back to my truck, as shown. But that’s not what happened.
The run started at about 5:50 AM. At first, I had a lot of light from the streetlights. But then I ended up on a dirt road with no light. I turned my iPhone toward the street to eek out enough light to know if I was already falling into a ditch, being eaten by alligators, etc.
I eventually wound up running along the Provo Bay side of the lake. That’s when I panicked. Do you ever get that feeling that you’re so alone that all it would take is one mistake- just one mistake and no one would ever find you, ever again? Well, that’s because you are, what is termed in the medical community- “normal”. I’m not, and I just flip out when I get that feeling. So there I was, running along a lake on a dirt road- a grown, 37 year-old man. It should have been fun and liberating, but instead, it was just sheer panic. I was 7 years old, all over, again.
So I turned around and just prayed that I’d make it back. I did, of course. It ended up being a paltry 3.3 miles- not the 6 and a half I’d planned. Originally, I’d decided that when I completed the loop, I’d call it Gracie’s Loop. I had this grand idea that I’d be able to tell my sister and her husband that I’d run Gracie’s Loop- and I imagined that they’d love it. But that didn’t happen when the run got cut short.
As it turns out, Gracie was quite a bit more brave than I was, yesterday. I saw her after surgery. She looked war-torn. But she made it through and was all the better for it (she’s doing really well.) I’ll make it up to her, though. One of these days I’ll finish that run that I started at 5:50 AM, Wednesday morning. I’ll be braver. I’ll bring mace.