Session Time: 45 minutes
Distance Covered: 3.32 miles
Total Time: 22 Hours 43 minutes
Total Distance Covered: 110.16 miles
Wow, wow, wow.
What an incredible morning.
With the idea of doing my run for someone else still firmly in my head from Monday, I decided today that half a mile really wasn’t enough to do Brenden Foster justice. So today I decided to dedicate my run to him.
For those of you who have not been able to view the video I posted in my last update, here is a quick summary of this amazing young man:
Brenden Stephen Foster (October 4, 1997 – November 21, 2008) was a boy from Bothell, Washington, diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2005. KOMO, a local broadcasting station, reported the story of Brenden’s last wish, which was to feed the homeless, on 7 November 2008. The story inspired many, and prompted attention from national media, even drawing international attention. The Seattle Seahawks NFL franchise paid for Brenden’s funeral; he was buried in Evergreen Washelli Cemetery in Seattle, Washington.
The Brenden Foster Food Drive was created by the broadcasting station in his honor. In Seattle, volunteers from the Emerald City Lights Bike Ride passed out over 200 sandwiches to the homeless. Inspired viewers took part in the “Stuff the Truck” food drive in Brenden’s honor, filling seven trucks of groceries and $95,000 in cash to benefit the Northwest Harvest and Food Lifeline.
Brenden’s story also reached KOMO’s sister station in Portland, Oregon, KATU, which reported actions inspired by Brenden in Los Angeles, Ohio, and Pensacola, Florida. At the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, for instance, over 2,500 meals have been served in Brenden’s name. His advocacy for the homeless housed in tent cities continues to be remembered. A Vietnam War veteran from Kentucky who lost his leg in the war was so touched by the story, he gave Brenden his purple heart.
You can see now why half a mile was not enough to do his memory justice in my eyes.
So, when I jumped out of bed today, Brenden was the only thing on my mind.
As I put Tony and Joe on my feet and grabbed Bubba (training buddy was still unwell), I imagined Brenden doing the same.
My tunes pumping in my ears, I began doing my stretches…imagining Brenden laughing and stretching with me. 😀
I hit the streets with a vigour that I’ve never experienced before….with Brenden as part of my virtual training team.
While doing my starting power walk, I bopped and danced along to the music, with a beaming grin on my face.
The single thought which kept repeating in my mind was “if Brenden was here and able to do this…what would HE be doing?”
Now, obviously, I never met Brenden…but knowing he was bedridden for the last part of his life, I’m damn sure he would make the most of every second.
So on I went.
I broke into a run just as Katy Perry’s “Firework” exploded in my ears. 😀
For some reason I saw even more people than usual today – even though I was still out very early – but today was very different.
Every single one of them wished me a good morning. Every single one (except for one slightly confused chap) gave me a beaming smile in return. One guy even commented “You’ve got a spring in your step this morning!!”…if only he knew.
I danced my way along…running, boogying, throwing my hands up in the air….grinning like a Cheshire cat every step of the way….and imagining Brenden with me doing the same…laughing as we went.
A bit of Glee’s rendition of “Born this Way” led to more dancing and bum wiggling.
I had not enjoyed a run like this…ever. 😀
I found myself appreciating things that otherwise I would have taken for granted – the breeze on my face, the birds, the flowers.
My thoughts kept returning to “How would Brenden experience this?”
I was incredibly grateful for being able to be there…and at times when I would have normally slowed to a walk, I imagined Brenden with me shouting “Come on, we can go a bit faster!!” and on we ran.
My ipod headphones even tried to pack up part way around…and when the normal connection wiggling didn’t work…I had the instinct to wallop it…and it sprung back into action. Nothing was going to take the edge of today’s run. 😀
I found that where previously I had regularly fixated on what was coming up, what was happening next, what was the next bit I had to do…today I allowed myself to stop and appreciate the moment I was in.
About 2.5 miles in I passed a beautiful garden with some gorgeous rose bushes…and I literally stopped and smelled the roses. There’s nothing like taking a cliché and making it literal to drive the message home!! 🙂
Today there was no doubt in my mind that I was doing the longer route…as Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” started…not for me, for Brenden.
As I came to the horses, enjoying the breeze on my face, I realised that if Brenden had been with me, he probably wouldn’t have just run past them, he’d have stopped to feed them.
So that’s what I did.
What’s an extra couple of minutes on my session time compared with really enjoying it?
All four horses fed, petted and a couple of pictures taken to capture the moment, I was back on my way.
My legs’ instinct to walk was regularly overruled by the little voice in my head going “Come on, we can run a bit further, we can run a bit faster”…Brenden is the best training buddy I’ve ever had!
…and although my legs were screaming at me towards the end I was not going to slow down.
I was determined to run down the last hill like a kid. Arms out, head back shouting “weeeeeeeeeeeee” as I went. 😀
…and there I was on the doorstep. Exhausted but Exhilarated.
Now it was time for the happy dance….and this really was. My usual jumping around had a different feeling. Gratitude like I’d never really experienced before….and the bum wiggling conveyed it pretty well I’m sure! 😀
Even when doing my cool down stretches in the back garden, my little ball of inspiration was with me.
When I placed my hands on the ground and felt the dew, I ignored my instinct to pull them up and just enjoyed the sensation.
I finally went and stood in the little shaft of sunlight in the back garden and just enjoyed the feeling of the sun on my face…eyes closed, arms in the air.
I’ve never had an experience like it. I felt so grateful to be able to experience this through someone else’s eyes…and to therefore appreciate elements that I otherwise might not have even noticed.
At times it was truly emotional.
So, from me to you Brenden, wherever you are, I thank you for the inspiration you brought to me this morning…I hope I did you proud! 😀
…and this new technique is definitely one I’m sticking with…so it’s over to you guys…who would YOU like me to do a run for?
Another, very grateful, step closer x