It’s that time of day when the sun starts to fade and the saguaros turn into gnomes. A time to switch off the brain and follow the lines. A time not so much for running, as for being. I love that time.
I’m getting in 7 miles on the Ray track as a prelude to the long run tomorrow morning. An evening run before the a.m. long run is not the smartest thing, but we’ve pretty much established that much of what I do will never fall into the smart category. Still, I’ve got the track to myself except for a couple of neighborhood dogs who wander along, following me halfheartedly before deciding my pace is not worth their time.
I drift from Concrete Blonde to Lyrnyd Skynyrd to Stone Temple Pilots, poking around Pandora for something to make the miles go by. I end up with the soulful stylings of Mr. Scott Simon.
Late-night runs on the track are an interesting experience. It’s pretty much a sensory deprivation tank, with no sounds and no sights other than a relentless white stripe. I search my memory for what it was like to do this forever. Do I have another one in me next year? I think I’m mentally stronger, so maybe. The miles are slower, so maybe not. Time will tell.
I down an espresso love gu at the 3 mile mark, just to get some caffeine, and settle in for drudgery of the last miles.
Scott Simon is doing a piece on Kayla Mueller, the 26-year-old woman who was just murdered. He reads a letter she had written to her parents during her ISIL captivity.
“I have learned that even in prison, one can be free,” she wrote them. “I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it.”
I think of the Prescott town square, start and finish of the beloved Whiskey Row Marathon. I remember waiting for a guy to dig through the trash can looking for aluminum cans so I could throw up in it. And now it’s become a place of mourning.
Sometimes it’s hard to understand life. How can bad things happen to good people? How do you keep the faith? I guess you cling to a letter from a woman who probably knows her fate but still struggles to comfort her family.
“I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes.”
I run the last miles thinking about Kayla. Wishing she could sit on the benches in the square again on a crisp Prescott morning and watch the world go by. I’d buy her a frozen yogurt from that place on the corner and thank her for giving so much to make the world a better place. Maybe life isn’t supposed to make sense. We just keep following the white line and hope for the best.
I go home and wait for my Valentino. Maybe that’s the good we carry away from this horror. Cherish every moment you have together. You never know.
And it’s maybe the best mantra for running, and for life, I’ve ever come across. “I have a lot of fight left inside of me. I am not breaking down + I will not give in no matter how long it takes.” I think I’ll carry that with me for a lot of miles down the road.
Thanks, Kayla. I know Prescott will never forget you. I hope the rest of us don’t either.
And I really, really hope there’s a heaven. If I make it there, the first FroYo is on me …