I finished the run for High Sierra Animal Rescue, the organization that gave my family Midnight, a loving and beautiful dog that makes our lives better. We do love him so.
The 22 miles I logged for this virtual event got me thinking about all the other other things I’ve run for during the years. I’ve run in events to raise money for Yale New Haven’s new children’s cancer wing, help a family take care of a loved one with locked in syndrome, raise funds for medical research, and done more than a few miles for people helping to feed and shelter others. I guess what running is really about for me is humanity in almost every way.
Running is a solitary thing, overall, at least for me. I get up in the morning and hit the road. Sometimes my body aches from the previous nights of work but it loosens up after a mile or so. I don’t go very fast. I take in the sights, sounds and even the smells of my neighborhood. Where I run, there’s a few rises that give you really great views of the mountains that embrace my city. Not only do I get a moment to get lost in these sights and the sky and clouds, but I get to think in a way you don’t get to doing many other things.
It’s a quiet and free kind of thinking that comes with the rhythm of the run. I get a similar feeling when I write as the keyboard clacks away and I feel the keys rebounding under my fingers.
But when I run a race, it really is a moment to really come in touch with my humanity, and not just because we’re raising money for dogs and kids and others, but because we are with each other. We are doing something fundamental, running and we’re doing it in packs, not to hunt or flee something, but to build. We’re building ourselves and our institutions in our community.
Running has been so much a part of human history it’s a natural thing. So I’m glad we’ve put it to good use.
As for me, I still have not run a live race yet since the pandemic hit. I hope to this fall. I admit I envy my friends who have toed the line already this year, but I’ve also been proud and full of joy for their accomplishments.
So here’s to running for the dogs, one of the most human things we can do.
Keep running, keep writing.