I have not blogged this week. My son had surgery to repair his frequently dislocating shoulder on Tuesday and helping him deal with pain, nausea, breathing exercises (a post surgical thing), and wound managment etc has kept me pretty son-focused.

That is until this morning. This morning I dug out my winter running gear, pinned on a race bib and went out and ran. What race got me to defy my doctor’s orders of no outside running until spring? The Virtual Run for Sherry.

Sherry Arnold–runner, mother, wife, daughter and teacher–went out for an early morning run on January 7, 2012 and never came home. She was abducted and murdered.

Shut Up + Run Blogger and athlete extraordinaire Beth Risdon is Sherry’s cousin and she has organized a virtual in Sherry’s memory. People from all over the globe are running for Sherry today.  It is the perfect tribute for an amazing woman. I never met Sherry and never even knew of her until after she was gone. I learned of this tragedy from a post on Shut Up + Run. I am guessing that one of the reasons Beth felt compelled to organize this run is the reason I felt compelled to participate–we are both mother runners.

Last year while training for the Disney Half Marathon I headed out  for my long run early every Sunday morning while it was still dark. I think I live in a very safe town and I never questioned the idea of heading out for a run in the mid-winter darkness. I am sure Sherry never questioned heading out the door early on that Saturday morning either. This is something that should never, ever happen and yet it did. This has both horrified and angered me.

So today I did something that I, nor anyone else, had ever done before: I ran for Sherry. I don’t belong to a running club and I have almost always run alone, so that is how I ran today for Sherry.  It has angered me to the point of distraction that a woman out running–keeping fit, reducing stress, modelling a healthy lifestyle, having some alone time–could be attacked in such an evil way. So today I ran angry and defiant and alone; a big F*#k YOU to all those who think they can take what isn’t theirs and use violence against another human being.

(Full disclosure: when I put my on running jacket my dog Gracie went nuts, so I brought her along for the run. It was -10’c with 5 inches of new blowing snow.)

I chose a playlist that I haven’t listened to in a long while. The first lyrics I heard were  from a Dave Matthew’s song,

To change the world start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all. Once you get your gate, you’ll be walking tall.

It is my hope that Beth’s “Run for Sherry” is that one starting step. I want for it to bring some small comfort to Sherry’s family–especially her children and husband–for them to know that Sherry’s is a powerful legacy. I want for it to bring awareness to violence against women, violence against anyone really and put an end to it. I want for it to take back the run; we should not be fearful doing a thing that we love. I want for it to bring Sherry home; then we won’t just be walking tall, we will be running strong.