Last week a terrible tragedy happened to the running and biking communities in Dallas. One biker, one runner, both on separate journeys, both doing what they love, sharply collided. Sadly, the runner died in the hospital a few days later and the cyclist, though sustaining a few minor injuries, will forever be scarred of this horrible memory.
I didn’t know either person involved in the accident, but it affected me deeply. I especially felt sadness for the victims' families. As a runner, I am very aware that I risk my life every day when I venture out in the dark of the morning, dodging cars, trying my best to avoid dogs and obey the rules of the road.
I wear headphones when I run. I didn’t use to, but free podcasts and fresh new music became my friend and it’s hard to give that up. I sometimes (often) don’t make a conscience choice about what I wear. Sometimes I wear all black. I do take minor precautions. I wear a flashing red light and flash my watch light at any car that approaches me. Most cars acknowledge me by changing lanes. Few don’t see me at all.
I understand that this tragedy will scare a lot of people. But for me, it’s a reminder of a true gift. The gift of running. Anyone who is a runner will get it. We don’t run out of fear of something happening. We run because it’s what gives us the life we breath. It’s hard to explain the beauty of a morning sunrise off the lake as I approach mile 16 or what a runner’s high feels like. The runner’s untimely death is a reminder to cherish the opportunity our bodies allow us to have. Running 19 miles on a Saturday morning is not a burden, it’s a pleasure.
I have recently learned that a fellow running mate was a friend of the girl that died last week and my heart was softened to know she died doing something she loved. What made the story even more comforting is that she was an organ and tissue donor and around 75 people were recipients of her precious life.
Her gift was a reminder to live each day to its fullest, to enjoy the little moments and to not miss out any opportunity because of time, money or stress. Don't wait for tomorrow, live today!