This runner remembers Boston

WTRB Boston collage

I could write a lot of things. I could write nothing. I think both would be acceptable and understood after the events that unfolded at the 117th Boston Marathon yesterday. Sure, I have posts lined up, reviews to do, statements to make; but none of that seems to matter right now. All that matters to me is that this runner remembers Boston.

I have friends, in and outside of my running life, who asked if I was running; some who sent a kind text or email to let me know they were thinking about me; and still others who asked me why it even mattered. No I wasn’t there (and never will be to run), thank you for thinking of me and all those affected and it matters because I am a runner too.

I am a runner boston

It’s funny how our minds work during such an event. My initial thoughts were of distress and panic, “Were the friends I had running okay?”  Thankfully they are. My thoughts then wondered to “What would I do if I were there?” I can’t imagine. And, finally “Why” as bitter sadness and outrage set in. My heart is already so heavy with sadness.

Still, others that I know have asked, “Can’t you see the bigger picture here?”

And, I know, this is about more than running. And I do know running isn’t everything.

But, the community I care about and love; the community that has always, always been there for me in one way or another was so devastated today that I am nearly at a loss for words. It’s not fair. It hurts and it makes me angry. When I recreated my blog a couple of months ago, I detailed why I run and one of those reasons is to remember. We will never forget what happened in Boston. We can’t. We will run again. It’s what we as a community of runners, do.

we will run to remember

Life is delicate, more delicate than I ever imagined and let’s face it; life has done a pretty damn good job of pounding that into my head for the past two years. At any second, life – and the people whose lives you cherish – can be ripped form your grasp, without any warning and you are left to pick up the shattered pieces with only a fleeting memory to hold on to. Life is precious, more precious than I ever imagined.


No, I will never run Boston and I would consider it a great privilege to even spectate. But, my heart is there. Because I too, am a runner and I will remember.

remember boston

Until the next mile marker,

In Loving Memory

For once in my blogging life, I think I may be at a loss for words.

April 21. Today marks the one year anniversary of my mother’s sudden passing.

And I don’t know what to say. I’m not even sure how I feel.

One year of birthdays, holidays, celebrations, other anniversaries, triumphs and failures. I never noticed before now how quickly a year goes by. Just one.

Yet, at times, it feels like it was yesterday when I got the call from the policeman to go to the hospital immediately. I remember that day as if were yesterday. I remember where I was, who was around me, what he said, what I said, I even remember what I was wearing. It is a day that will forever be seared into my brain.

I remember bits and pieces of the funeral – a whirlwind of friends, family, loved ones. I remember she was buried in her running shoes with some other sentiments from me, my Dad and sister. I remember the flowers, the rain and the sudden impropriety of the whole world. I hated God and everybody. At times, I feel I am still working to forgive the former.   

And yet, I can’t remember what she was wearing or what we talked about the last time I saw her. I just remember we were having breakfast with my friend Wendy. It was a good day that day. Mom was happy. She has just run nearly 7 miles (well over her goal of 6.55 miles) and we all decided to go to breakfast. She ordered the crepes with extra strawberries from First Watch. She loved strawberries most of all. I ordered chocolate milk. Wendy ordered coffee. Mom left early, Wendy and I talked for an hour or longer. It is a happy memory, but one that is escaping me.

Just four days later she was gone. Just four.

How could any of us have known?

Not even one day has gone by since then that I have not thought about her – talked to her, cried out for her, laughed for her or missed her. There is a hole in my heart that will never – can never – be filled.

Running brought us closer than we had been since childhood. I will always run to remember my mother, no matter how old, tired, sick or injured I happen to be. It is my one earthly connection to her. I feel her beside me when I run. I know she is with me during those times.

If Mom were here, she would want you to know one thing: THIS. She was so proud of it; she had me proofread it right after she wrote it.

It is in the spirit of her thoughts and her determination to be a runner and complete the Cap City Quarter Marathon last May (which she did not get to do), that my family had these words inscribed on her headstone:

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” – John Bingham

These same words by Mr. Bingham grace the pages of my blog. And it is because of my mother and father that I did in fact find the Courage to Start almost three years ago now. Since then, running, health and fitness has transformed my life into something that matters. The people I have met, places I have been, relationships I have built and opportunities gained are priceless, yes, but they would have been worthless had not taken that first step. And, if my parents had not been there every step of the way after that.

I love you and miss you greatly, Mom. No words can accurately describe either sentiment.

Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone

Everything that I’ve got, is just what I’ve got on

I ain’t got a dime, but what I’ve got is mine

I ain’t rich, but Lord I’m free

Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s where I’ll be…

Amarillo by morning, Amarillo’s where I’ll be.

Until the next mile marker where we meet again,


My Run for Sherry

Distance: 7 miles
Time: 1:42
Yesterday, I ran in memory of Sherry Arnold. No I didn’t know her personally, but she was a fellow runner that died in a horrible way and left many behind who loved her. 
Yesterday, it was bitterly cold in Central Ohio – for the first time this winter. It was about 17 degrees outside, but it felt more like –5 degrees with the wind-chill. It was the first time the Lucky 13’s had ever run in such harsh conditions and they excelled – they got out there and got it done! It was miserable, though, my thighs and right side went numb from the constant icy wind. Both are “burned” and bruising from nearly two hours of constant battering. It is days like these that make me wish I ran a whole lot faster.
To be honest, I wanted to quit more than once during this run. But I didn’t. Because it wasn’t an option. I even had an out. I could have waited at the Mile 2 water stop  for Duane and the rest of the group to circle around and lead them back from there. But I didn’t. Because I was running for Sherry. I ran every step for her. I shared most of my run with my friend Keri and we talked about Sherry for a little while. When the cold was really getting to us. I thought about how I could handle –5 degrees when Sherry will never get to run again. That hit home pretty hard. And I stopped complaining. I was running, and I wasn’t going to stop.
Me and a few of my fellow MITers.
This run was for you Sherry Arnold. We will never forget.
Did you run for Sherry? If you did, stop by SUAR’s blog and take about 30 seconds to complete this survey. And let her know how your run went too.  
Until the next mile marker,

Running for Sherry

I was in Florida the day Sherry Arnold left her quiet home in Sidney, Montana for her normal early morning run. It wasn’t until several days later when I returned home and was getting caught up on blog posts when I read from her cousin Beth at Shut Up and Run that Sherry never came home. I didn’t know much about Sherry, but my heart fell into the pit of my stomach when my mind immediately thought, “She’s not coming home.”  I knew even less about Sidney, but I was pretty sure nothing like this ever happened there.

Still, I continued reading all the updates I could find and praying and hoping that maybe everything would turn out okay. Maybe she was struck by a car and it was just a matter of time before someone at the hospital could identify her and call her family. Maybe she was hurt and moved away from the road and someone would find her nearby if they kept looking. Maybe Sidney was just a whole lot bigger than I thought and she had to be somewhere.

Sherry Arnold has been presumed dead. Two men charged with aggravated kidnapping are being held. All the authorities have found was one of Sherry’s running shoes near the spot where she disappeared.

I know first-hand what it feels like to have someone close to you ripped out of your life without warning. I can’t imagine what it feels like to have that person ripped violently away. My heart aches for her children, her husband, her family, her friends, her students, her neighbors and her community.

I think of Sherry often, in fact. My mind wonders and I pray that she somehow found peace in her final moments here on this Earth. Was she scared? I know I would have been. Did she fight? For her life. What was she thinking? I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Was she strong? Without a doubt. Why? There has to be a reason, right? Did she know someone would look for her? Absolutely she did.

This type of thing always happened to someone else’s mother, wife, sister, cousin, friend, teacher or neighbor. And it certainly didn’t happen to a fellow runner. My heart was filled with sadness for the person that was lost. How could this happen?

Still, the news of Sherry’s death really hit home when I started thinking of my own safety and the safety of those around me. We take so much for granted everyday. We become one with our routine and we throw caution to the wind. It will never happen to me. It will never happen to my friend. That kind of thing doesn’t happen around here anyways.

I was standing in the kitchen talking to my husband about what happened to Sherry and I said, “At least you always know where I run.” He stopped what he was doing and said, “No, I really don’t.” I stopped what I was doing. He wouldn’t know where to look for me. So many times I run out the door without even saying what direction I’ll be heading. I just assume he knows. Not anymore.

Within the last few weeks, there have been multiple reports of a suspicious person on the trail where I run at least once or twice a week. He is making people feel uncomfortable; getting too close to them, mumbling unclear things, walking just off the regular path. The police are aware, but nothing as happened. Yet. I hope nothing ever does. Yet, I think about the people that use that trail every single day. I think about the people who haven’t heard the warning, who aren’t paying attention, who don’t think they have anything to worry about because they run there all the time. Run alone? Not anymore. Not for awhile. What happened to Sherry could have happened to any one of us.

I have also experienced first hand the love and support that the running community harbors. We are an amazing group of individuals. We’re not selfish and we don’t shy away from tragedy. We dive in, head-first and help those who are left pick up the pieces and try to carry on. We remember. And we want the world to remember too.

Beth has organized a virtual run for Sherry this Saturday, February 11 and all she asks is that you run, walk, skip, hop, skate, bike, roll, or glide a little ways to remember the beautiful person that Sherry was. Sherry was a runner. And what better way to remember her than to go for a run. Wouldn’t she do the same for any of us?

Click to print your own bib!

I will be running seven miles this Saturday, and I will be thinking of Sherry as I run. Not just of the horror that was her death, but of what I know about the goodness she brought to those who knew her. I will be thinking of her children, her husband, her family, her friends, her students, her neighbors and her community. I will be praying t hat they might find some small comfort in the fact that she was so loved. Even by those who have only known her through words. Like me.

The next seven are for you, Sherry. May you rest in peace.

Until the next mile marker,