My heart is very heavy today, and it has nothing to do with yesterday’s Aramco Half Marathon, which I finished in the second-slowest time of my six total mostly due to the first five miles that felt like we were running in a sauna.
Remember all that nerve-wracking pre-race weather watching, which included a warning from race officials that if there was lightning the event could be delayed or even, perish the thought!, cancelled? I awoke yesterday to dry conditions outside. Normally, that would be good, except this is Houston, home of horrible humidity any time of the year.
That meant that the Chevron Houston Marathon and my race, the 13.1-miler, would at the very least be run in the muggiest of conditions: Temperatures in the 60s (nice for spectators, not for runners) with the threat of rain. It finally, blissfully, started to pour after about an hour. That helped to keep us cool, but most of us were already cooked from the earlier steam bath.
Fortunately, the rain didn’t keep the spectators away. Houstonians love to support the runners! They hold up great signs (“Worst Parade Ever” was my favorite this year), make a lot of noise and even sing (loved the triple Elvis impersonators!), and encourage us to keep on going. The event showcases everything that’s right about Houston, which really boasts some of the nicest people in the entire world.
And, as always, the best feeling in the running world? Crossing the finish line and receiving a great-looking finishers’ medal.
Still, as I was slogging away and trying to keep from falling on the uneven city streets, I couldn’t help but think about the two high school kids I was running for as I raised funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I’ve written about Stephanie, my younger son’s classmate, before.
But now I carried in my mind during the race a new young warrior whose battle is just beginning. Tanner, the high school freshman son of my good friend and masseuse Tina, was diagnosed with large B cell lymphoma today. Tina had told me last week that he had cancer and that they were waiting to find out what kind. Tanner and my #2 son played recreational basketball together years ago, so we know this fine young man. I feel terrible that cancer is hitting my friends’ children.
Along the half-marathon race route, Houston’s Christian radio station had two prayer stations. As I jogged past, I thought about Stephanie and Tanner and prayed that they will be healed (Stephanie is in remission from Hodgkin’s lymphoma). Maybe some day both of them will run and raise money for a cause that’s near and dear to their hearts, too.
I hope you’ll keep both of these brave kids in your thoughts.