It’s 7:00 a.m. and my family lays asleep in bed. The house is quiet apart from the sounding of my watch alarm. I try to sleep through it’s persistent beeping but as I restlessly roll over, something falls off the side of my bed with a thud. It’s the book I’ve been reading, “Terry Fox –His Story”, by Leslie Scrivener. I’m reminded why I’m meant to wake up. “Alright, Terry. Let’s go for a run”.
I stretch out the kinks and wiggle my toes. My joints are stiff. “Where’s my oil can?” Terry can relate.
Rain falls in heavy pellets. I hate the feel of wet clothes, squishy feet and squeaky shoes. Terry rolls his eyes. “Suck it up. Ever run through gale force winds, snowstorms and 38 degree heat?”.
Starting off is slow. I whine, “My shins have been tender to the touch. My hips are tight. My ankles feel bruised”. “I know what you mean”, replies Terry empathetically. “My prosthetic is not fitting properly. The skin has been rubbed raw, the bone bruised. There are cysts on my stump. Sometimes I get dizzy and light-headed – something to do with my enlarged heart”.
19km today. Terry is competitive. He taunts, “Catch me! I’m up to 42km a day over 143 days”. “I’m not sure”, I hesitate. “Isn’t it important to have recovery days between runs?” I’m looking forward to a nap this afternoon and maybe an Epsom salt bath at night.
I fall silent as I get sucked into my own head. “What are you thinking about?”, Terry asks me. I’m thinking about the argument with my mother. I’m wondering about getting red-violet highlights in my hair. I’m fretting over what I want to be when I grow up. “How about you?”, I ask Terry. He ponders, “I’m wondering what the world would look like if we cared more, dreamed bigger, believed more fully in our own capacity. I’m feeling grateful to be living with purpose, doing what I love. I’m also thinking that a hamburger would hit the spot right about now”.
Our pace quickens and we fall into a rhythm. “Fleet-Feet”, I chant to myself. Terry holds a different beat, “Long-Hop-Hop”. We find our place on the road, claiming only the space we need to respond to the call of the path ahead. The solitude is inviting though we are never alone. Cedar trees lower their boughs and I extend my hand in unity. “High Five!” We delight in the cheers of the tall grass and the waving of the blackberry leaves.
With one kilometer to go, we lean into the challenge, pushing hard to the end. My GPS shouts “Time!” and my body collapses. I draw air deep into my lungs, eventually coming back to life. Hunched over, I take a rare moment to acknowledge my legs. I did it. “How’d you do Terry?” Though he has achieved a personal best, Terry’s idealism persists. “Not today”, he answers, “but one day”.
TERRY FOX RUN 2014
4.5K, 9K AND 1.3K KIDS’ RUN
WHEN: SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 21, 2014
LOCATION: RAINBOW ROAD POOL
REGISTRATION BEGINS AT 10:00, RUN STARTS AT 11:00
THE TERRY FOX RUN IS A NON-COMPETITIVE, FAMILY-ORIENTED EVENT. RUN, WALK, STROLL, BIKE, CHEER. DOGS ON SHORT LEASH PLEASE.