Friday, March 13, 2009

The Heidi (almost) Half Marathon

So my wife goes and breaks her pelvis in half while snowboarding with her sister yesterday. She is in Salt Lake City and I'm down here in Pensacola. They tell her that it is a "clean break" and probably won't require surgery. Then this morning they decide that they DO need to go in and put in some screws and plates. So with little notice, she heads in for surgery, 2000 miles away.
Stranded, I'm sitting here trying to decide what to do. I want to be there - impossible, the next flight isn't until tomorrow and even it won't get me there until the afternoon.  I want to just pray the whole time she is under the knife, but I can't sit still. I ask myself, what would Heidi tell me to do? So of course, I ran.
As soon as I heard she went in to surgery, I threw on my running shoes and headed out the door. I knew it could be hours before the procedure was over, but I didn't care. I'd run until she was out.
My pace was sporadic, a mixture of nervous energy and exhaustion...wishing there was something I could do...praying she'd be okay. The run wasn't a workout. It was a type of sacrifice. It was the only thing I knew to do in the situation that I had absolutely no control in. It was a prayer.  
I ran the same dirt roads Heidi and I run together all the time. It was as close as I could get to her.
Her sister, Ange, called about six miles in and relayed the doctor's word that Heidi was doing fine and should be done in about an hour and a half. Time didn't matter. Distance really didn't matter. I just wanted to keep putting one foot in front of the other until she was done.
Surprisingly, not long after sunset, and much sooner than the 90 minute estimate, a second call from Ange confirmed that Heidi was out of surgery and recovering nicely.
And so this is one run that I will always remember. I had no idea how long it might be when I started, and the uncertainty seemed quite appropriate. It only ended up being a bit over 10 miles, but the weight I carried made every step count.
This is your (almost) Half Marathon, Heidi. I'm sorry I couldn't get there to be next to you - it sure felt like you were there with me.


  1. I was looking at your first posts trying to figure out where the picture for your blog header came from and enjoyed reading this post.

  2. Danny - Thanks. Heidi did give me a hell of a scare two years ago. But she powered through and finished her first Ironman the next November, believe it or not.

    The header is a picture I took of the Haitian coastline. I am a Coast Guard helicopter pilot in my spare time - and I spent the first part of the year doing some work down in their neck of the woods.


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