What Happens When You Run This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 28, 2012
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I'm from a running family, that's all there is to it. My dad set the state record for the fastest 3 mile time in high school; 15:04, and my mom had been running since the 6th grade. Then there was me, next in the family to be an outstanding runner, and my race times showed it.

It all started when I went to practice that day; February 26th, 2010. It was a sunny day, the perfect kind of weather for a workout. First warm-ups, then stretches, and finally on to the long run.

When you run, you lose the ability to tell time. That's what happened to me. So really, I had no clue what time it was when coach Mike pulled me out of practice.

“Kia, your mom. She was running when the car came, it all just happened so quick.”

That was all I intended on hearing. I sprinted to the parking lot, where knowingly, my dad was waiting for me. He was sitting in the front seat, and his eyes told me the whole story, even though I didn't want to think about it.

The ride to the hospital seemed like it took decades. There was so many little things that caught my attention. I noticed the blob on the right side of the windshield, where some bug had been squashed. The coffee stains on the side of the cup holder where my dad had gone over a bump in the road and his “# 1 Dad!” mug had tipped over. I even noticed the “o” in “objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” warning had been smudged so it looked like a “u.”

It was all I could do to not think about the possibilities, all the things that could, or did happen. “When did it happen? What was the driver thinking?! Did anyone see it?” The thoughts raced through my mind, but little did I know that my questions would be answered in precise detail quicker than I had wanted.

When we got the emergency room, the nurse wouldn't let us see her. Apparently the doctor had to talk to us first. As time ticked away, the minutes just kept getting longer, sitting, waiting for the doctor to come.

“Her death was instant,” he said, “I'm very sorry for your loss.”

It took a while to sink in, knowing that she was gone and we couldn't bring her back.

“We have a witness...” the doctor proclaimed, trying not to push us too much, “If you want to talk to her.”

“Of course we want to talk to her!” I felt like screaming, but something kept the comment inside of my mouth. Instead, my dad told the doctor we would wait awhile before we found out what had exactly happened; after all, we had just lost a huge part of our life, and we didn't want to know how bad it had been.

Dad and I talked it out. We decided no matter how hard it might be to hear, we needed to know how it had all happened.

“Well, she was running down the street like she always does,” my neighbor Ms. Garcea said, “and all of a sudden a car came out of nowhere, it was a blue Honda I think. One second it was all fine and dandy and the next thing I knew the car swerved off the side; she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, I'm sorry.”

I was getting tired of all those apologies. Saying that you’re sorry doesn’t make it better, it doesn’t turn back the clock, she was still gone, and that was never going to change. I never knew how angry you could get over two simple words, but is that all anyone could say?! I was done with the sympathy; I needed to get out of that dreary, horrible place.

I guess the run helped me; you can't really think about things when you're putting one foot in front of the other. I think that's how it was with my mom. She was so caught up in something she loved, that she didn't see the car coming her way. All dues were paid, and I wasn't angry anymore.

The charity runs helped too. Not only me, but my dad. With help from our friends and family, we were able to raise not just enough money to pay off mom’s funeral, but to buy prosthetic legs for kids that needed them.

Who knows? Maybe someday one of those kids could love running just as much as I do, or my mom did.

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