The Dash

This morning I got up a little earlier than I usually do on Sundays so I could get my eight mile long run in and head out to my home town for a memorial service for the mother of one of my best friends. We met when we were in junior high and have stayed friends all of these years. I dashed out the door to run, happy that my trainer had scheduled today’s long run as a zone two to three run. My heart rate in zone two is 110 to 121 and for zone three it is 122 to 153. Since I was pressed for time, my goal was to stay under 140. I ran well, felt very good the entire run and I had an average heart rate of 137. It also helped that the weather was a repeat of yesterday with heavy cloud cover and a threat of rain. I didn’t get rained on and it was very humid, so having the cloud cover helped. After my run I had 6 excel runs of 20 seconds each. In the past I have done them on a treadmill. Today I ran across a dam in my neighborhood which is very flat. So I dashed across, walked to recover and dashed back. This is helping me adapt to a faster turnover in my step.

As soon as I finished I only had a little under an hour to have something to eat, shower, and head out. I grabbed a Muscle Milk bottle, hard boiled egg, and a cheese stick from the refrigerator and dashed upstairs to get ready. With just a few minutes to spare I walked the dogs and hopped in the car. It is close to an hour drive and as much as I wanted to dash down the roads, I was careful to be within a reasonable range of the posted speed limit. My friend’s mother loved to sew. She would sew clothes as well as crafts.  One of her trade marks was making teddy bears. I was fortunate to be a recipient of one such bear. The family had asked if people had a bear, pillow, or doll she had made to bring it to the memorial. The grown woman I am was so happy to have my teddy bear in arm as I walked through the parking lot and met my sister. The service was held at a lovely carriage house on the grounds of a mansion that has been turned into an event area.

We took our seats and I felt the first breath of rest as I sat down. From the moment I woke I was dashing to run, get dressed, or drive. One of the speakers was a long time friend of the family and she read a poem by Linda Ellis called The Dash. Being a runner, I first thought it was an analogy of running and life. Not even close. The poem focuses on the dash between the dates on a tombstone. From birth year to death year, for example 1931 – 2012. After living a long life, the dash is what is left to signify the time of living. One line from the poem is: “What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.” I was very touched by the entire poem and its focus. My friend’s mother lived her dash well living and loving life to the fullest. All too often we live a dash by dashing from one place to another. When what matters most is what we are able to do with the time we have that makes up the dash.  I want to make a mark, a dash, that inspires others. It could be in fitness, friendship, caring, patience, loving, and so much more. Do I live it fully every day? Not at all. But after today, I am much more aware of how I live and love. And how I spend my dash.

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