Not that long ago, an online friend died suddenly. His sister thought to go through his online address book and let his running friends know. James "Cat" Cattano was one of the first guys to really get me to realize I was a runner. He worked with trouble kids and was often a confidant when I was going through some stuff with a crazy person in my life.
Last Sunday he would have been 46, so a group of us decided to celebrate his life by doing something we enjoyed. For me, I spent the day in my pj's reading the papers and doing the sudokus. I was going to run Cohasset but there were coordination issues with vehicles, timing issues and enough of a pain that I decided to pass and dedicate my run in the Doyle's Emerald Necklace run to him this week.
I love this run. This is through part of Olmstead's "Emerald Necklace," a string of parks around Boston. This is an out and back race at the Franklin Park end and it starts by the hospital near Forest Hills. From there it winds along the golf course, past the softball fields, the zoo and the stadium. It goes along water, where the ducks and geese were starting to swim and nest and through woods. If you didn't know that the funky end of the city was just the other side of the zoo, you never would have guessed by the scenery.
The weather was funky - overcast, chilly and threatening to rain. I stayed towards the back of the 1800+ runners and stuck to my strategy of run a song/walk a song and I was running pretty well. There were times when my inner loser would start raising his voice - which had me thinking, "I can just cut across the fairway..." or "No one would know if I ran across that triangle of grass instead of around it..." and I would think about Cat - which send the inner loser off to sulk in the corner and keep me on course.
The last quarter mile, you come out of the park and the last quarter mile is up Williams Street to Doyle's Bar and Grill. The street is lined on both sides with triple deckers filled with artists, hipsters and college students. As you come down that final stretch, they are out clapping and cheering. One group sits out drumming in the driveway, complete with baby hippies dancing in organic clothes. The college students were the loudest and most enthusiastic, thanking me for picking up the pace and I thanked them for their support.
As I approached the finish, there was a guy in a red hoodie cheering me on pretty enthusiastically and I realized it was my big brother! It was a real surprise and a happy treat to see him there.
Later, I was listening to a bunch of songs shuffling through my iPod and there was the one Warren Zevon song that still makes me tear up: Keep me in your heart for a while. It is the last song he wrote for his wife when he was dying. The words, "hold me you thoughts, take me in your dreams ... and I will be right there with you."
So yes, I kept him in my heart for a while and it was a good.