Thump, thump, thump. 5 AM and Topazs' tail is thumping on my comforter, wet kisses on my face. I can hear the rain on the window. "We are going to get wet this morning, Topie."
I roll out of bed and follow Topaz to my bathroom. I can hear his akward gait on the tile. He is limping.
Last night we were all playing football. Topaz was fetching the football; back and forth. He went out for Tyler's pass. On the way back to us he jumped over the bird bath and landed akward. He yelped loudly and began to limp.
This morning he is still limping.
I hated to leave him at home. He looked at me so excited as I put on my running clothes, anticipating our morning run.
I had to run alone. In the pouring rain. I knew I was going to run, rain or not. I didn't know I would be running alone.
I don't think I've ever run this trail without Topaz. I've run 10 miles with him, then have had Steve pick him up so that I could run another 10, not wanting to take him too far. But I don't recall that I've ever run the trail without him at all.
I had a lot to think about.
My very dear friend found out that she has lymphoma cancer. We found out on Friday. We thought she had mono for the past few weeks. Maybe she doesn't have mono at all. The symptoms of mono and lymphoma mirror one another.
She's one of the healthiest people I know. She's very moderate, I always tease her about it. She never smoked cigarettes, never tried drugs and has one glass of wine a month; at the most.
She used to run in a very moderate way too. Until she met me. I talked her into running her first marathon at 40. And she did, in fine fashion.
We've shared many miles and many races together. I love her. Dearly.
And she has cancer.
I realized, as I was running, that this was exactly what I needed to do. I needed my body to move as it knows to move. The consistant motion that has become so very comfortable. I needed my mind to open up and to feel. To think. I needed to cry. I needed to cry hard.
I realized that I am a runner. Not too long ago, I wasn't a runner. I didn't know how to deal with stress, I didn't know how to open my mind. I didn't know how running can make me feel more whole. More focused. More clear.
As I felt the rain and my tears run down my face I knew that I was where I needed to be.
Running. Even if I had to run alone.