Today I went running. I intended to repeat my run up near OHSU, which would have been a 10 miler. However, I noticed along the way that my feet were feeling more tender than I expected so I knew I wouldn't be running the entire thing.
As I approached the beautiful tree-lined parkway that leads up to OHSU and the Veteran's Hospital I passed three medical student looking fellows all dressed in green scrubs. They got off a bus and were walking up to the hospital. I thought it was odd that they were wearing scrubs around in public. I thought scrubs were supposed to be clean and sterile, but these certainly wouldn't be after walking around in them outside.
I ran up to the pathway I ran on last time, and even did some curb balancing like I did before. Strangely, I again passed those same three green scrubbed students. They took a short-cut that I didn't know about. I felt a little satisfaction in flashing them my proud bare feet - twice! Maybe instead of thinking "You can't run barefoot!" they might think "HOW do you run barefoot?" Instead of going up to the end of the parkway this time, I turned up a little side street and went right up to the hospital itself. I was thinking thoughts about "the mouth of the lion" or "the belly of the beast." The road led me past OHSU School of Dentistry and then up by the Doernbecher's Children's Hospital.
By the children's hospital I noticed a number of girls ranging in age from about 8 to about 16 walking up the incline into the hospital. The common feature that stood out most was that each was wearing some kind of cap or scarf to cover their bald heads. Thats the result of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. It was touching and moving to see these little souls each involved in their fight for life. Here I was being somewhat of an ass, running barefoot under the noses of doctors just to provoke them or get them to think a little bit, and here were a bunch of innocents involved in a race for their very lives -- a race I'm sure some might not win. It put things into perspective.
I left there feeling humbled and grateful that I have been blessed with a very strong and healthy body and mind.
My run was 7.5 miles, a little shorter than the 10 miles I had planned on doing. After seeing those kids, it kind of didn't matter to me much any more if I ran the full 10. I was happy just to be out running. Period. I smiled a lot at people on my way back to the Point of Beginning.