But after the devastation of last week, which began with the loss of my friend's beautiful child to cancer and ended with the horrific loss of 26 other sweet souls, I knew that I cannot run for just "myself" ever again.
In my last post, I wrote that I (and we) can do some things, even simple ones, to help Lily's memory, and it's true, too, that I (and we) can also do simple acts to honor the children and teachers who lost their lives last week as well.
I truly believe that positive energy and prayer can make a difference. It can turn the tide against evil, but it must be constant and firm. We must be good to one another, not merely doing some good deeds in the weeks after the tragedy is Newtown and then allowing things to go back to the way they were, flipping the bird to someone who cuts us off in traffic once again. No, we must be good to one another each day - today and one hundred days from now.
I had already decided that I would be dedicating each of my runs in 2013 to a different person. Not just each race. Each run. From the 2-miler early in the morning to the next half marathon on the horizon, each run that I complete will have someone accompanying me.
But mindful of the darkness that descended upon us last week, this couldn't wait.
This morning, I ran for (and with) Anne Marie Murphy, who was one of the teachers slain at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday.
Reports have stated that Anne Marie was killed while she attempted to shield her students with her body so that they would not suffer a similar fate.
She threw herself between the killer and those children without a second thought.
And now, she is walking the overcrowded streets of Heaven this night.
As a teacher, I have a duty to fill my students' heads with the knowledge they will need as they become adults and enter that "real world." But I also have the duty to let them know that they are loved and to keep them safe while inside my classroom.
Anne Marie Murphy loved her students so much that she died for - and with - them.
During our run this morning, I told Anne Marie that I hoped that she and her students didn't suffer, that I hoped that the shin pain I felt was worse than what she felt on Friday, and that if she had been in pain, that I would gladly take some of that on for her. I told her she was a hero; I told her that my heart was broken at this unspeakable event but at the same time so full because of her love and commitment to those children. I told her she would remain in my heart and in my mind. I told her thank you.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7)