Well, I have awoken this morning with lots of thoughts on my mind regarding running and hurricanes! It seems like over the past 8 years those to things have been connected in my life quite a few times.
I have mentioned that I began running when I met my husband, and well lets just say I also have a strong hate for hurricanes because of him also.
In August of 2005, he surprised me with a trip to Disney for my birthday(this was before the bug was born, he LOVES disney) Well we arrived back from our trip early due to the looming tropical storm Katrina. I will remember these next few days and exactly how they occurred for the rest of my life. He got the call saying we needed to evacuate. We had no time to pack up anything, so we grabbed our bags still packed from Disney, and we headed out; Jake said Lacey don't forget your running shoes! I grabbed them but I did forget my heart rate monitor. Jake grabbed one uniform, one set of running clothes, and his running shoes. We loaded up in the military vehicle, and said goodbye to his Jeep that we did not know we would not see again. When we realized the magnitude of the storm, I headed back to New Orleans the next day to grab the cats(yes we almost left them there, I still think about that vividly until this day) I was stuck in 8 hours of contra-flow traffic with a dog and two cats just watching the gas gage as it would get lower, so fearful to pull off and get gas and lose my spot in this line of traffic.
Well Katrina hit! and the unimaginable occurred! Jakes apartment flooded. He was working 20 hour days, and a run for him was not even possible, but he still carried his running stuff with him in his vehicle everyday; as I type this today I wonder if he carried that stuff because it was all he had left or if he really thought he would get to break away from the General and go for a run. As the stress of everyday built one on top of the other, Jake encouraged me to run and would ask me how my runs went everyday. I am tearing up as I am typing down these thoughts. I have often times thought how many times in my life running as saved me, saved me from my own thoughts, and saved me from wallowing in stress and sadness.
I will never forget the smell as we drove into the city for the first time after the storm. That smell is burnt into my memory for life. As we drove up onto North Claiborne, there was a house in the road! I started crying! This was 3 weeks after Katrina, and one week after Rita; his apartment flooded twice. When we pulled in through the gate, the guard said LT you can't stay in there very long, try not to breath in much; and then he said this; "watch out for snakes!" This was the one time those words did not scare me. I wanted to salvage whatever we could, even though I knew we couldn't take anything. I was not expecting what we were about to see, the refrigerator was in front of the door, so we climbed in through the window. There was one thing that I was really trying to find that day, it was an award he had received after his deployment. Everything was everywhere and nothing really made sense. He said Lacey its ok, lets go we aren't gonna find it. I never once thought about the possibility of finding a snake, I lifted up the couch cushion, and there was the award! It was made of glass and literally must have been the first thing to hit the floor and everything else fell on top. I screamed, Jake jumped, you know how when you are so excited words wont come out, that what happened. He thought I had seen a snake, I finally was able to say I found it! It was the only clean spot on the whole carpet where that glass plaque had laid down.
During my run the next day (back then a 45 minute run was a huge achievement for me) I ran like I had never run before. I cried several times during that run, it took me a very long time to get over the material things that we lost. What we gained in love and appreciation for each other during that time, and how from then on running became a part of my life, can never be measured in material things.
to be continued....