Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lesson 182: Out of the Blue

Once in awhile things happen out of the blue.  They can be good moments that leave us fulfilled or shocks that tear holes in our hearts.  I've experienced both this week, delaying my blog posting for a day.

The hold up was because I wanted to go for a long run today to retire my sneakers.  I get a new pair every six months.  I'm as faithful about that as I am visiting my dentist.  When I am done with the sneakers, I write the places my shoes have taken me on the soles with Sharpie marker, and hang them from the ceiling of my garage like this:

Eloise wanted one last long run on them before I put them to rest, hovering like a pair of angels in my garage.    I did that this morning, setting out on a long run at 6:30 am, heading west Forest Gump style, just to see how far I could go.

It was a beautiful morning.  I woke up happy because my Huskies won the home opener last night.

The t-shirt I am wearing was to celebrate the friendly rivalry between two neighboring school districts.  The kids named it Battle of the Bridge and sold t-shirts this year.  The game had a huge turn out and it was a perfect night.  Natalie was happy because judging from 13-0 win, the bridge belongs to us:

My trot took me miles beyond what I had planned though, and this makes Eloise very proud because I was running for SOMEBODY.  I was running in honor of a local man, a father of a high school classmate of mine, who died while on a run early this week.  Mr. Reuter was a 71 year old, super fit, retired teacher/guidance counselor from the school district I attended and now work in.  He was a local legend in sneakers.  Even after retirement, he never gave up his love of running.  In fact, I saw him a little more than a month ago at a local 5K.

"Wow!" I thought.  "There's Mr. Reuter!  He's still running and he looks great!"  I was beyond impressed when I realized he placed in the 70 and over category.  I want to be just like that when I get older I thought to myself.

I then had a romantic daydream of me actually WINNING some races that I enter.  Because I enjoy running so much, I know I am in it for life, or at least until the limbs and spinal column hold out.  Maybe I'll finally place when I get to the 80 and over category because I'll be the only woman left running, thought Eloise.  DRAT!  Enter my fantasy:  dream shatterer Heather Cass!  Shoot!  She's my age too!  I've been looking at her backside since I started racing.  Well, let's be serious--I look at her backside for about 3 minutes, then she takes off.  I always see her again when she's looping back to look for stragglers.  I am seriously hoping that leg length will finally factor in when we're 80!  I'll get her then.  (Happy birthday, Heather.  That's your birthday gift this year--my promise to keep you company for the next 40 years).

Mr. Reuter's life was cut short.  There isn't a person left here that wouldn't say he was taken from us too soon.  But the man had a life well lived, and taken up while doing something that he loved.  That is something we should all hope for.

Certainly there are a few people that probably think, Boy, all that runnin' and look what it gets ya'!  Wrong thinking, says Eloise.  When God says our time is up, the hourglass is emptied.  Simple as that.

So today, before I set out, I wrote Mr. Reuter's name on the back of my sneaker.

This one's for you, Mr. Reuter, I thought to myself, and I set out.  I ran and ran and ran and ran and never really got tired.  I took two bottles of water and some organic chewy things that are supposed to give you energy--but I think it was because I was running for someone that I did so well today.  I am not even a tad bit sore or tired as I write this which is very unusual.  This is where I ended up:

Locals--get your jaws up off the keyboard--you're going to stick the scroll and miss the rest of my post.  I hit Beach 1, two and a half hours later.  I ran a half marathon this morning that I never even planned on.  EXACTLY 13.1 miles from the Lamp Post to the beach.  I had no idea.  None.  I didn't figure the mileage until the return trip.  Only God Himself could map out a path to the tenth of a mile.  I am glad I followed it today.  It further solidified my beliefs.  Amen.

Usually when you run those distances, you get a t-shirt in the end.  I got something else.  Can you see what's in my shoe?

That's a handful of sand.  The way the shoes are hanging, it's probably gathered up in the toe by now.  I put it in there.  Here's why:

After I reached the beach and called for my ride to come retrieve me, I said a little prayer for Mr. Reuter and his family.  The funeral was today.  He was a man who kept to himself, so his wife and three sons respected his wishes and had a simple funeral with an hour or two set aside for close friends and family to gather.  I didn't fit either category, therefore I did not attend the funeral.  I was just a student of his, whom he  advised through scheduling department every year.  I recall him perusing my test scores 20 some years ago.  Mr. Reuter tipped down his head and peered at me over his reading glasses and said, "I think Algebra 2 is enough for you, Honey."  Wise man.

I waded out into the Lake Erie waters to cool down my feet, knees, and calves for a few minutes.  As I stood there and let the waves wash over my legs, a song came on my iPod.  It was Rascal Flatts, When the Sand Runs Out.  Again, something that I recognized as a message from God.  Thank you, Lord.  It's the perfect song to use for the blog post this week. You knew I was going to inquire, so you answered my weekly question before I could ask it.  Scroll to the bottom to see a collection of pictures from the past week.

You'll see this picture on the video:

This is moon that hung in the sky over the football field Friday night.  The August 31, 2012 moon is known as a blue moon.  It really isn't blue.  I doctored the photo for you with the tint button.  It really looked like this:

A blue moon occurs when two full moons happen within the same month.  It has something to do with a misalignment of the Gregorian calendar and some kind of orbit.  The article completely lost me.  Mr. Reuter was right--Algebra 2 was enough.  The term "once in a blue moon" is used in writing and speaking though.  Now that is something I do understand.  This phrase has come to mean a rare event in the most modern terms.  There is another meaning that isn't as well known.  A blue moon was also once known as a symbol of sadness or loneliness.  No doubt many in my hometown feel this with the loss of our beloved friend.

The NASA community is also mourning a loss this week.  Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon on the 1969 Apollo 11 mission,  died at the age of 82.   Uncannily, Armstrong was buried on Friday night in Cincinnati, Ohio, under a blue moon sky.  Coincidence?  Eloise thinks not.  Psalm 39: 4--Show me , O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.

Speaking of how fleeting life is, here are the photos from the first day of school.  We've put in five full days in these here parts already!  Natalie began high school, Ellen will finish her last year in elementary school as a sixth grader, and Sam crossed the threshold of public education--he started Kindergarten!

Traditionally, the girls have done just fine in school with minimal monitoring.  Sam?  He is my wildcard to say the least.  He went fine the first day and appeared almost shell shocked when I picked him up at quittin' time.  He slept like a log that night and when I tried to rouse him for the next day, Sam wasn't moving.  After about my fifth attempt yelling up the stairs from the living room, I tromped upstairs to get him moving.

"SAM!"  I said, "You have Kindergarten today!  You have to get up."

"I WENT YESTERDAY!" he yelled from underneath the covers.  Because I am so good at math I did a quick calculation Rain Man style and thought, Great, one down, 2,339 more to go!  No problem.

After a trying week, I returned home on Friday afternoon and broke tradition.  I did not have a Rolling Rock.  Grandma brought me one of these:

Grandma who is a beer drinker and also an avid weather watcher bought them in celebration of the blue moon.  "Drink up!" she said.  "There won't be another one until July of 2015!"  She would know.

I'll close this Blue Moon weekend post with this verse, which is a good link to my own words.  From Paul's letter to the Philippians, chapter 3, verse 13:  I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize. 

And that, Dear Readers, is the best prize in all of our races--the heavenly one.

Run the good race,
If you have trouble getting the video to play, click on the post Lesson 182:  VIDEO THAT WORKS on a separate post.  Must be a bug beyond my level of understanding.

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