Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Up and Down Holiday

That emotional rollercoaster, the one triggered by the highs and lows of life, always exists on the fringes of being for all of us.  It has appeared a number of times over the years in my life, as it no doubt has for everyone else.   It's a fact of life.  When they hit around a major family-oriented holiday, the ride can be a little rougher than usual. 

For me, the coaster is always tamed by remembering all of the times - good and bad - which helps put things in their proper perspective.

This season, a trip to Scottsdale AZ to run a half-marathon and to then stay a few days at a resort kept me from participating in the annual weekend get-together at Cedar Key FL.  It's always held the first weekend in December...a nice relaxing couple of days just hanging with friends in a quaint little town, one that's on the National Historic Register.  The event is organized every year by a delightful couple from West Palm Beach FL, Kevin and Deb Healey and I knew I'd be missing a great weekend with great friends.   

While I was in Scottsdale, I learned that Kevin and Deb were involved in a horrific accident while on their way to Cedar Key.  Both were severely injured.  This news was disturbing and it weighed heavily on my mind.  I had a dream a few nights later that Kevin, an avid marathon runner, had finally convinced me to join him in running a race that's held every March in Jacksonville.  In real life he'd tried but I'd always turned him down.  Now this dream.  What did it mean?  You see, Kevin lost his left leg below the knee in this accident. 

A couple of days later, while getting a run in, the dream suddenly made sense!  The idea came to me out of nowhere, the idea to raise money for them by taking donations for each mile I would be running in five of my upcoming half-marathons.  The runs would be made in Kevin's name, since he was also a runner.  Each of these are in the Southeast - MS, LA, AL, GA, SC - states from which Kevin's Cedar Key weekend usually drew attendees.  Then I logged in to a motorcycling website forum that I visit regularly, and saw that a fellow rider and mutual friend had put the word out asking for help organizing a fund-raiser for the Healeys.  So I responded to this friend's request, sharing the idea that I'd come up with while running.

With web page and donation page up and running, I achieved some bit of solace, knowing that I was doing something to help. 

This month is both a build-up month and a taper-down month for running mileage.  It falls between the Scottsdale race on the 2nd of the month and the Jackson MS Mississippi Blues Half Marathon on the 5th of January.  After a week of easy low-mileage runs, I ran 8 miles the second weekend of December, taking my favorite route to McDonalds, getting a small latte, then running back home, latte in hand.   This past weekend I ran 10 miles, and I debated whether to repeat my route to McDonald's, but decided to stay closer to home, cobbling a 10 mile route together using the streets nearer to my house. 

A pleasant evening caroling our neighborhood with fellow residents of our community helped me to temporarily forget the periodic grim news that was coming from the Healeys' daughter - set-backs in both her mom and dad's recoveries.  A cold front came through on caroling day, so we were all bundled up.  A low-bed trailer decorated with Christmas lights, bales of hay lined up along the rails, transported the carolers through the neighborhood.   This was just what I needed to get into the holiday spirit.

Fund-raiser mug for the Healeys

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