Most runners run alone at some point in their training. For my first half marathon (the one I actually ran, not the one that ended with cracked ribs), I did every single training run by myself. Because I was training for a fall race, many of my runs occurred LATE at night (after dark) or in the morning before the sun came up. (I absolutely HATE running in the heat.) I don't live in a high crime area, so I even wore my headphones and probably did quite a bit of zoning out during those runs.
Sherry lived in, and ran in, Sidney, Montana. According to the internet, less than 5,000 people live there, compared to close to 2 million in the Columbus, Ohio metro area. What happened to Sherry, could arguably, have been more likely to happen to me. It's downright sobering to think about and makes my heart hurt for those who loved and knew Sherry.
I didn't know Sherry until I heard about this Virtual Run in her memory. The beauty of the runner community, however, is that we all "know" each other and have big hearts when things like this happen.
Today, despite winter's sudden arrival at my doorstep, I ran for Sherry and others like Sherry. It was a fallback week in my half marathon training, so I ran 4 miles. The temperature when I left my house was 12°F, with a wind chill of -5°F.
|Ready to brave the sub-zero wind chill!|
Many of the people in my Saturday morning running group (we have around 500-600 people in the group) were also running to honor Sherry. Here are some pictures of a few of us.
|Sue, Sara, Me and Stacy - you can tell we're all wearing multiple layers in this shot!|
|Me and Laurie|
|Me and Rob - I look like I have 60 chins to go with all my layers!|
It was a cold and icy 4 miles!
|The water in my water bottle and some of the power aide froze before i made it back to the starting point.|
Most of the people in my group were doing the training mileage for the Cap City Half Marathon - 7 miles. I'm running the Knoxville Half Marathon a month before Cap City, and had a fall back week by that schedule - 4 miles. I'd originally thought I might do 7 anyway, but when I got separated from my friends that run my pace, I decided it was a sign that I was to take it easy with my knees and only do my scheduled 4. The upside was that my last two miles were solo - and gave me a lot of time to think - they were also my faster miles. LOL. In sum, I ran 4 miles in 47:49, which is right on LSD pace for me. Perfect way to honor Sherry.
I hope Sherry's friends and family felt the outpouring of love and support from the running community that I saw everywhere this morning.
When I turned around early and my friends noticed I was missing, I got multiple calls and text messages to make sure I was alright. Plus, every pace group I paced on the way back in asked if I was okay. A wonderful reminder of how caring our community is and how lucky we all are to be runners.
This one was for Sherry and others like her. May she be remembered and loved always.