This morning I ran with South Riding Running club in honor of Sherry Arnold. We wore red and pink for Valentine’s day and for remembrance. SRRC printed safety tips on the back of the “Running for Sherry” bibs. As we headed out for runs varying in distance from 3 – 12 miles, we all carried with us the memory of a runner’s life cut short. Running means so much to all of us. I have known some of these people for 8 years. These are people with whom I wouldn’t have friendships if it weren’t for running. Running is our common bond. We speak the same language and understand one another’s hopes, dreams, and desires. I am so proud of this club. I served as its President for 4 years and felt so rewarded for my efforts by this wonderful group of supportive people.
On our run today we passed Maria, the club’s founder and first President, out with her dog. I thought it an interesting coincidence that we would see her on a day when we were feeling particularly introspective. She and I are the only former Presidents, our club being just 8 years old. We share a common bond.
After the run I headed home, changed into bike clothes, ate a quick breakfast, and headed over to “garage spin” with Team Tri Performance, my triathlon club. I was 1 hour late which still gave me 90 minutes to spin!
After spin a bunch of other team members arrived to get ready for our annual Valentine’s Day relay. I wasn’t able to participate because I had to take my son to baseball tryouts, but I stayed to make sure everyone got their “Running for Sherry” bib. Yes, this was the second Run for Sherry in South Riding! I stood on a chair because I’m only 5′ 1″ and, even though I can be loud and obnoxious, people often aren’t sure where the voice is coming from. I explained what had happened to Sherry and that we were joining people all around the country running in her honor. I didn’t need to explain. She was a runner. Everyone understood. Words weren’t needed.
As the first group lined up outside the snow began to fall…no-one could get a satellite reading on their GPS but we made them go anyway…too cold to hang around!
It’s hard to explain, but when I’m with these people, I feel myself. We can bike for 2.5 hours in a garage and no-one thinks we’re crazy. We can talk about racing for hours and no-one rolls their eyes or looks bored. No-one thinks it’s strange to get up at 5am and run or swim. And while some of us won’t ride outside when it’s below 40 degrees, we respect those who do. Everyone understands terms like BQ and IM and why they mean so much to us.
We’re outraged and disgusted and haunted by what happened to Sherry. We want to but can’t help. So we do the only thing we can. We show our support through what we love to do. What she loved to do.