I fought with myself all morning. Do I go? Do I stay home and keep plugging away at my long to-do list? I haven’t been in months, so why ruin a good thing? I haven’t been in months so I need to get back to it.

Going won.

As soon as I started walking the track, music pounding in my ear buds, tension poured out of me like a belch of grass from the lawn mower when I tip it back to turn around. Anger, fear, frustration, sadness… in one blast of energy that propelled me into a genuine run around the track.

It felt good to shed that armor. It felt good to really run, to sweat, to push all that tension through my heels into the floor.

Of course, after about 4 laps, the gasping for air, the screaming lungs, and the sore muscles demanded I slow to my usual barely-faster-than-walking pace.

Then I saw the ambulance pull up.

Familiar dark-blue figures with gigantic duffel bags, silver and white stretcher, bright red backboard, EMT patches on their shoulders. Crowd around an older man who had collapsed outside a workout classroom. Lap after lap, I caught glimpses of a process I was only too familiar with. As I rounded one corner, I peered down into the kids corner to see my five-year-old daughter watching them too.

My armor was gone, burned up at the beginning of my run. So the tears sprang as unbidden as the memories of EMTs crowding our house, digging through the giant duffels, and eventually carrying our daughter out the front door. For the last time.

Fortunately, I had sweat so much I didn’t have enough tears to pour down my face.

Who knew a run could be so…Eventful? Emotional? Challenging? Laden with memories?