Sunday, February 18, 2007

Deep in the heart

"...The prairie skies are wide and high (clap, clap, clap, clap), deep in the heart of Texas..."
And so it was for the Austin Marathon. Big, blue Texas sky. Couldn't have asked for a
better day.

No doubt I had a great run today in my second half marathon. But these running events will probably be bittersweet for me because my oldest nephew, Michael, killed himself on Dec. 10, the day I completed the White Rock Half Marathon, my first. I literally found out about it 10 minutes after I crossed the finish line.

He was 34, really like a little brother because I was just nine when he was born.
I wished I could have known why he was so depressed, despondent.
He floated into my mind today while I listened to my iPod during my run. Some of the lyrics to the song "Learn to Fly" by Carbon Leaf made me think of him:

...Hello good bye
Two birds hover inside of a hard factory
Holding onto recovery
Fly away or repaired and preparing to go on your way
And I know I'm on my own
But you make your way
And I'll rise
I will rise if in my mind
But I can see you fly away
I can see the sun upon your face
I can feel your heart and I can hear you cry
And as I fall upon I learn to fly...

It hit me today during the run. I wondered if this was how he was thinking and feeling the moment he decided to end it. Why did he feel isolated? Alone? Without hope?

I cried a little.

Through this song and the race, I saw his face. I also felt a euphoria that I'm not sure was really just the "runners high."

Maybe it was Michael, pushing his Aunt Liz around today, through those gawd-awful hills in Austin.

Perhaps it was his shove that helped me end at 2:59.52, shaving eight and a half minutes from my time at White Rock in Dallas -- Michael's last day on this earth.
I sang along, almost answering him with what I wish I could say/could have said to him:

...And everything that I love you for remains
High above the clouds and the cleansing rains...

Yes, running brings me strength, but it makes me think deeply, all the way down to my heart.

Perhaps Michael ran with me today in spirit. I just wish he could have done it in person.

Without a doubt, I truly believe that in the end, he learned to fly.


LoneStarCrank said...

A great honor to him that you are carrying his memory with you Liz.

Great race and great step towards your new challenges.

tntcoach Ken said...

Way to go Liz. Sounds like you're really getting into this running thang!!

MotownRunnerGirl said...

dude, nice post! i hadn't read this stuff until now. and all the posts leading up to it. que verguenza! CONGRATS on a wonderful race.

Ty said...