I had a million reasons to skip this morning’s run. Raw temps with biting winds, fatigue after yesterday’s speedwork, I’ve been neglecting the weights, the dogs consumed an entire box of 64 Crayolas and excreted a spectrum of ‘treats’ for me on the carpet, pick an excuse any excuse.
But today more than ever, I needed the roads to serve as my therapy couch.
Yesterday after school, Things, 1, 2, dogs 1, 2 and I set out in the neighborhood selling Thing 1′s Girl Scout cookies. When our neighbor opened the door, there stood Alex, their oldest child. This shocked me because Alex should be back at school, in her second year at the University of Illinois. “Extended holiday break”? I asked as I noticed how swollen and out of sorts she looked. I soon learned that Alex is taking a semester off from school because she suffers from Lupus, an autoimmune disease. She was diagnosed as a kid and has had a rough time controlling the flares since she went off to college last year.
This sweet teenager should be thinking about what party to go to on Friday night or whether she wants to join a sorority. Not wondering how badly her Lupus flare will be or about the side effects of her meds. Life is such a mystery sometimes.
So, as if fighting the bitter winds would help ease Alex’s pain and/or help her recover, I ran. I ran hard into that nasty wind. It felt effortless. And I cried angry tears for the unfairness of it all. For everyone who suffers or who loves someone who does.
Thinking of all Alex goes through everyday makes my quest for a race PR or a negative split or another BQ seem selfish and trivial. That’s why I’m dedicating my efforts at this year’s Chicago Marathon to the Lupus Foundation of America. I’m going to run this one for Alex. She’s my girl. She’s everyone’s girl.