(image from Premier Sports.)
Memorial Day marks many things: maybe the end of school; definitely the start of summer; the day the fashionistas officially condone wearing white; races like the Bolder Boulder; and, most importantly, a chance to remember those who have served and are serving our country.
I know a race—any race from a 5K to a 100-miler—doesn't even come to close to dedication and devotion it takes to serve in the military., but running brings me as close as I can come to their experience. Even when I ran by young men and women training on the run, as I used to quite often when I lived in Colorado Springs, I saw their heavy black boots and full on uniforms and neat formations and discipline and thought, this is probably the easy part of their day, and I'm hoping for a downhill coast from here.
Yet we were out there running, albeit in very different circumstances, together. And that somehow connected us. Not sure what they thought of me as they ran past, but I was all respect and awe for them. And I wondered, as a civilian only can, about what their life is like in the military. How do they deal with their fears? How rigorous are their lives? What does it feel like to wear a uniform?
Running provides me the space to actually think about those questions for more than a minute. Today on my run, I couldn't get the piece I heard on Story Corps this weekend of a Lance Corporal who was the only one of his 12-platoon squad to survive an attack in Iraq. (The line of thought that jolted me most: that he was most proud, at this point in his own life, of not blowing his own head off. He knew he had to do his best to seize that second chance that he'd been given, and that killing himself would have not accomplished anything.) I can't even pretend to know an ounce of what he has gone through, but I am very grateful that my rhythmic steps give me the time to think about it and to be in awe of his service—and the daily sacrifice he's gone through since 2005.
We want to take to today to pledge our gratitude to all our selfless military women and men who live the life we can barely imagine, and who have served our country and our families. We know many mother runners are connected to the military, and we are so appreciative of you and your spouses. Thank you doesn't cover it, but it's the best we can offer here.
And, on a personal note, we also want to thank our beloved sport of running that gives us the focused and important opportunity to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.