Black Dog

When you legs get tired run with your heart -unknown

Staunton State Park
We all run for different reasons, but when it comes down to it the black dog standing at the gate is often what pushes, at least myself, to run ultras, to run harder, more challenging races, to continually push the limits of endurance. This week was a recovery week, but it was as if the black dog was standing at the top of every run, pushing me to run faster.

My legs were still a bit beat up from the racing I've been doing over the past six weeks, so I made a real effort to focus on quality over quantity on my runs. On Sunday, rather than chase weekly mile totals, I went for a 10 mile run at Staunton. I managed a pretty decent climb up Mason Creek, despite some heavy legs. After cruising into the saw mill I headed up toward the lookout point to hit the 5 mile turnaround. After I turned around it was like I saw that black dog and just found another gear. I flew back up to the top of Mason Creek so fast I didn't even realize I was at the top until I was headed down. My legs were light and my feet felt like they were just floating over the trail. It was that feeling you live for as a trail runner.
Sweet Annie
But what couldn't be erased from my heart on my runs this week is something that has deeply touched the Ds community lately. In the past couple weeks, we have lost three of our little ones, all 2 years old. Little Annie touched my heart deeply. Something about her smile just reminds me so much of James. 

A lot of stories have gone around about Annie. What I have learned is that she had very complicated medical issues dealing primarily with her heart. She was also denied a heart transplant that may have saved her life. Many of the stories have noted that she was denied the transplant because of her Down syndrome diagnosis. From what I know this is not entirely true. Annie's complicated medical issues also factored into this decision. In 1996, the courts ruled that a person could not be denied a transplant simply because they have Ds. What amazed me was that was 1996! That was not that long ago that people, including medical professionals still saw the stigma of Ds before the person. I do question if Ds played into the doctors' decision to consider her ineligible for a transplant, but it's a question no one will ever have the answer to. It also made me question if any of James' doctors or therapists still think this way. Does James get the same level of care because of his Ds diagnosis? 

Staunton State Park
Over and over again I kept hearing that Annie was denied a transplant because of Ds because she "would not contribute to society". That's heartbreaking. It's heartbreaking to hear, whether or not it was true, that obviously someone out there thinks that kids like Annie and James will never contribute to society just because of their almond shaped eyes. Those same eyes that sparkle and light up a room. That melt your heart with the simplest grin. So again I'm reminded that each day I have to fight for James. To fight like Annie's parents did for her. To fight for the best therapy, the best medical care, the best education...for everything that James needs. To never assume that he is getting the best. To question every doctor or therapist as to why we are or aren't doing something more to help him. When James was born I was told to be prepared to fight every day. I don't think it really hit until this week just what that really meant. It's a good thing Dan and I have learned to never quit, to never give up. We don't quit races and we'll never quit fighting for James. 

Week June 16 - 22

Miles Running: 36.5
Hours Hiking and Running: 6


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