Reason to Run

Donna and Darryl, Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu 1997.
Donna and Darryl, Turtle Bay Resort, North Shore, Oahu 1997.

My run today was bittersweet. I woke up this morning having dreamed of a very dear friend from not so long ago. Not having heard from her in a couple of years, and it being too early in the morning to call, I decided to do a quick google search to see if I could see if she’d been up to anything exciting since 2014 like a run.

I was devastated to find that the first result to come up was her obituary, taken in 14 short months by cholangiocarcinoma cancer at the way to early age of 47.

My heart today is in physical and emotional pain over the loss of the beautiful woman who gave me so much joy. We shared so much love, friendship, and adventure that she has never been far from my mind no matter how many years have intervened. The loss to her family and friends is no doubt pain beyond understanding.

It would be foolish and disrespectful to her memory for me to deny that I haven’t cried today, I loved her as much now as I ever did. I’m an anomaly when it comes to love – so many people who found love with someone just cavalierly toss it away when the relationship is over. It’s a shame that love doesn’t endure with so many people in this way. True love is everlasting, staying in your heart long after two people part ways. She and I simply couldn’t maintain a long distance relationship, but the three years that we did were magical and will always be part of me.

I owe my passion for running, and possibly my life, to her. This photo was taken at the Turtle Bay Hotel & Resort on the North Shore of Oahu in 1997. It was on this trip that she asked me one morning if I wanted to go for a run with her. I enthusiastically laced up my hiking boots (I had no running shoes), pulled on a t-shirt and cargo shorts (no running shorts either), and headed out through the sand for a three mile run that to this day I remember as almost killing me. It was THAT run, on that day, that ended my cigarette smoking cold turkey for good.

My road to loving the 1/2 marathon and marathon is all because of her. We ran every chance we got, every time we were together we would plan a run. We eventually ran the 1998 Motorola Half Marathon (now the Austin Half Marathon) on February 15, 1998. It was the first 1/2 marathon for both of us.

Donna died February 14, 2016 on the same day OUR half marathon was being run 18 years after she and I shared our love for each other and for running at that race.

Much of my grief is over the loss of contact that too often comes with distance, and divergent lives; the bulk of my grief is from losing someone who truly was a gift to the world and everyone who was blessed by knowing her.

Rest in peace Donna, I’ll never forget the love of running you’ve given me and pray to God that I see you again one day.

Motorola 1998 Bib